The Afghan masses and Baluch people living on both sides of the Durand Line have warmly welcomed the opinion piece by the Ryszard Czarnecki, Vice President of European Parliament (EP) that was published in EP titled, “Time to Revisit the Durand Line.” The Czarnecki has emphasized on the western countries to take a hard look at this artificial border of Durand Line, and restore the natural and historical frontier between Afghanistan and Pakistan for the sake of peace in the region. The opinion piece further says Balochistan and the Pashtun-dominated tribal areas of Pakistan that were forcefully merged into British India need to be restored to their earlier status as the sovereign territory of Afghanistan to ensure durable peace and stability in the region, rather than pouring millions of Euros in aid to Afghanistan, and trying to win a war that cannot be won. Following the realistic approach of Czarnecki, Afghanistan Times, a leading English Newspaper in the country, has observed a deep and lauded wave of happiness and hopes among the people living on both sides of Durand Line where everyone appreciates and applauds Ryszard Czarnecki for his noble approach. Commenting into the matter, the Ministry for Borders and Tribal Affairs, Headed by Pashtun intellectual Abdul Ghafoor Liwal in a statement has warmly welcomed the Czarnecki’s opinion piece and termed it the first and last solution to the current dilemma in the country, and also in the region.
According to the statement, the restoration of Afghan land and people across the Durand Line remains a historic and evergreen stand of all the governments and people of Afghanistan, which is necessary for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country. It furthered that peace and stability in Afghanistan and in the region would be a dream until the Afghan land and people to be regained by revisiting the Durand Line, and to do so it is the responsibility of United Stated, United Kingdom and other countries of European Union, including the worldwide humanitarian organizations and people. Moreover, the statement added, it is too late, however, realizing the truth and historical right of Afghanistan is a good initiative needs to be implemented in a true spirit. The ministry in the statement vowed that any effort for revisiting Durand Line would be welcomed. Similarly, Sayedullah Salam, an active political activist, serving as adviser for the ministry of borders and tribal affairs, said, “we appreciate and welcome the opinion made by the European Parliament Vice President regarding revisiting the Durand Line.” The adviser added, Durand Line had been imposed on the Afghans living on the both sides of the Line which was not only injustice, but it is also serving as cancer for the humanity of the entire region. He called on the international community to strengthen the Afghan shoulders in order to regain their historic land and people. He further went on saying that Afghans on both sides of the Line have firm belief on strategic friendship and partnership with US-led NATO member countries, adding revisiting Durand Line is must for our joint goals and objectives in the region. “As long as safe sanctuaries of terrorist outfits in FATA and Baluchistan remains untagged, war on terror cannot be won,” he claimed, adding that the easiest way to win the war on terror is to revisit the Durand Line. Similarly, A Pashtun writer and intellectual, Dr. Khurshil Alam, belongs to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said “revisiting Durand Line is the only solution to the burning problems and issues in the region.”
Another Pashtun nationalist leader at Pashtunistan freedom movement, Bashir Sherani from Baluchistan in his twitter account has thanked the Czarnecki for his opinion regarding the revisiting Durand Line. He said Czarnecki has suggested the ultimate solution to the problems of Afghanistan and Pakistan. He added that the Pashtuns in Pakistan would continue their struggle against the unauthorized occupation of Pakistan. He furthered that Pakistan had been involved in nurturing and exporting terrorism to weaken Afghanistan and undermine US-led NATO mission in the region. He pointed out that Pashtunistan freedom movement puts weight behind US and NATO member countries. “That is why they should support us against the illegal and unauthorized occupation of Pakistan.” In addition to that, Jabbar Wazir, a Malik (an elder from Waziristan) told Afghanistan Times in a telephonic conversation has welcomed the opinion and realistic approach of Czarnecki, hinting it a need of the day. He said Pakistan has been using FATA region as a breeding nursery for terrorism and launching pad in order to maintain insecurity and instability in Afghanistan. He made a demand from the international community to help us for organizing an independent Jirga (dialogue) of FATA people under the shelter of United Nations to decide fate of FATA which is the reliable way to win war on terror. He added that Pakistan had been completely failed to run the business of FATA and to shun the safe terror havens, so there is a serious need to replace Pakistani administration by installation of UN-led administration in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Provincially Administered Tribal Area (PATA) regions. He added that the people of FATA are thirsty for any positive, peaceful and developmental change to be brought by the international community. He furthered that the people of Waziristan including the whole FATA are not terrorists and religious fundamentalist by origin and history. “Terrorism has been imposed on us by the state of Pakistan in order to earn dollars and take control over the areas.” He expressed hope the international community would give us the fundamental right to be a civilized part of the global village, which is only possible by revisiting the Durand Line. Speaking on the same line, Naeem Turi, a political activist, belonging to Kurram Agency (FATA) backed Czarnecki’s opinion and said that Durand Line was a draconian policy of British imperialism which resulted in heavy sufferings for the Afghan people, living on both sides of the Line. He said this Line had been divided two brothers of the same family and same tribe which is totally injustice against us. He said Pakistan army has been siege the people of FATA where they don’t have freedom of expression and movement. “That is why the international community should provide an opportunity for the people on the both sides to decide over the fate of FATA and other parts of Pashtun-dominated areas in Pakistan.
Moreover, Malik Farmanullah from Bajaur Agency, said, “Pakistan has been shaped our motherland as hell on the earth where violation of human rights is a matter of day today. The Punjab-dominated Pakistan is playing great game in FATA and Afghanistan to secure Punjab’s interests.” He added that land and people of FATA, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan belong to Afghanistan and these areas were divided for the sake of imperialistic goals by the then British-India. He added that after defeating communism in Afghanistan, it is now the responsibility of the big powers to recognize and ensure our fundamental rights by revisiting Durand Line where we meet our aspirations and historical legacy. Similarly, Muhammad Nawaz Bugti, in an email statement sent to Afghanistan Times, he has endorsed Czarnecki for his noble suggestion to revisit Durand Line. “He said Baloch people are already paying heavy cost for their freedom. He said Baloch people could not accept slavery of Pakistan and we would get freedom from the barbaric and disputed state of Pakistan.” The Durand Line covers distance of 2,430 kilometer was established in 1893 as a result of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Sir Mortimer Durand, a British diplomat and Afghan Amir, Abdur Rahman Khan to fix the limitation of their respective spheres of influence in order to improve bilateral relations and trade. However, the Afghan people and government, including the Pashtuns and Baloch across the Durand Line never accepted this as a permanent border with Pakistan. In July 1949, the Afghan Parliament (Loya Jirga) had formally cancelled all the agreements with the British governments and declared that Afghanistan would not recognize the imaginary Durand or any similar Line. Recently, on May 9, 2017, a Jirga (dialogue) of FATA elders and youths was held in Jalalabad, capital-city of Nangarhar province, where they called on Pakistan to vacate FATA and withdraw army as soon as possible. The Jirga was attended by the elders from Waziristan agency, Kurram Agency, Khyber Agency, Momand Agency and Bajaur Agency. The speakers of the Jirga said Pakistan is nurturing terrorism instead of shunning sanctuaries of terrorism. They called on the international community to extend required and humanitarian support against the terrorism and Pakistani occupation in order to ensure durable peace and stability in the region. Now the ball lends into the court of International community. As far as concerned to the people living on both sides of the Durand Line are committed to revisit the line and establish long-term strategic friendship and partnership with the international community.
By Sadiq Yousfi, Kabul