Afghanistan’s Chaos: Pakistan’s Narration status

Afghanistan has been a state who faced a lot of crises and wars on its own for ages. Different external powers came and tried to serve their interest at Afghanistan’s cost. Just like human nature, states are social entities as well; actions of one influence the environment of others in the niche. Similarly, Pakistan being the most immediate neighboring state of Afghanistan bears a lot, while serving the interests of the United States who nominated Pakistan’s efforts in the region by sometimes acknowledging it, most times scapegoating it. Pakistan was never free to design its policies regarding Afghanistan because it was never aligned with the interests of the powerful. Some elements affected Pakistan’s behavior at the external level but at the same time, many internal or domestic issues affected the passive behavior of Pakistan’s policy determinants.

The role of Pakistan’s static internal environment is well managed and well defined was lacking at the provincial level. The instability at the border areas of Pakistan endangered the secure position of the citizens of Pakistan having relations with Afghan entities at the cultural and religious level. There was always a grey area while dealing with those units. Sense of ownership and highlighting them as a key influencer in the policy generation of Pakistan’s behavior towards Afghanistan needs to be ensured. This inclusive behavior towards all Pakistani nationals encouraged them as well as helps the state to have strong support at the national level.

The role of academia, research, and development did not contributed to the issue of Afghanistan in a way that was the requirement of the time. It has been observed that there is a lack of research conducted in the field by collecting the raw information by engaging youth from Pakistan as well as from Afghanistan to uncover the true realities. For example, to have stable and peaceful relations with Afghan Taliban, it is necessary to observe their understandings regarding different dimensions of state affairs and then conducting the policies and actions accordingly to maximize the outcome. Those realities must have an influential impact on declaring the strong position of Pakistan at the global as well as at its land. Academia’s conduction in policy-making provides a guideline from history, an analysis at the current moment, and shares the future perspectives which are mostly predicted.

Similarly, the role of media plays a significant role regarding the image generation of a nation. Pakistan’s media always focused on Pakistan, India, and China’s centric politics and never tried to explore Afghanistan as a prioritized issue that Pakistan is facing. Whenever something happened, Afghanistan gets the spotlight, and this vicious cycle goes on.  Pakistan’s stance display at the international level is not satisfactory. International media hubs are rarely approached to uncovered Pakistan’s side of the story. This absence of Pakistan from the international media, force people to follow the westernized narration of the whole event happened in Afghanistan. There is a dire need to have an influential voice in the international media to build Pakistan’s narrative. And this nation branding by engaging different journals and media houses is among the basic rights of any state.

Pakistan hosted a huge number of refugees from Afghanistan at a time when Pakistan itself was crumbling and deadly dealing with its internal crisis. Pakistan was not obligated of providing shelter to those homeless Afghan refugees but still on humanitarian grounds Pakistan welcomed them. No other, even developed state accepted Afghan’s refugee influx in their state. Pakistan needs to have Afghan representatives who lived there for two to three generations in Pakistan and maintained a well-established living style just like Pakistan’s own nationals. Such a group of people needs to be represented at the International level who could advocate Pakistan’s soft side by sharing their experience in Pakistan. This advocacy will help Pakistan to inject a positive narration regarding the role of Pakistan in Afghanistan through convincing the international audience.

The narration building and statecraft ship of Pakistan are trapped in a cycle where at the ground and practical level Pakistan invested, inhaled, and incorporated a lot of compromises and sacrifices. Those sacrifices were never acknowledged by the international community rather it is blamed to have played a double game. The state that always preferred peace over war needs to be portrayed as a hero state. In the circumstances of Pakistan and Afghanistan, Pakistan itself has been the painter who has to force its audience to look at it, the way it is. Pakistan’s painting has to be strong enough to speak louder.

Maryam Zohra Warraich
Maryam Zohra Warraich
MPhil in International Relations from Quaid e Azam university Islamabad.