KABUL: Former President Hamid Karzai said that if Pashtuns from Pakhtunkhwa decide to Pashtunistan, he would respect their decision.
In an interview with The Pashtun Times, the ex-president said that in the Durand Line Agreement, the Durand Line was not called a border. “It was not called a border but the term sphere of influence was used. It means sphere of influence between the British India and Afghanistan, not a border,” he said.
When asked will he stand beside Pashtuns living on the other side of the Durand Line to support an independent state of Pashtunistan, the former Afghan president said that if Pashtuns decide to Pashtunistan, their decision would be respected.
“From the River Amu [Oxus] to Attock, Afghans live. There are different groups of Afghans. If Afghans living on the other side of the Durand Line decide to have an independent state we will accept it. We shall respect their decision whatever it is,” he said.
Karzai said the Durand Line cannot separate Afghans because the line has not been recognized by anyone for over a century. “No one will recognize it. It cannot separate the nation. The line has not separated the nation. When we went to the other side of the Durand Line, the people welcomed us as their own brothers. Therefore, it cannot separate us and no one recognizes it. It cannot keep us away from each other,” he said.
When asked whether anyone in Afghanistan will recognize the Durand Line, the former president replied that such a person would never arise in Afghanistan. “If such a person did come, at that very moment, the people of Afghanistan will kick him out of Afghan Millat [nation].”
He told The Pashtun Times the Durand Line was imposed by British Empire on Afghan people. “It was imposed on Afghans because of a weak government and at difficult time. Neither that time nor now Afghans recognize the line. We did not complain about this to Pakistan because at that time Pakistan did not exist,” Karzai said, adding that there was Hindustan only, which was ruled by the British, part of the British Empire. Pakistan came into being later.
“We say two things to Pakistan, first, we do not recognize the line because it was imposed on Afghans by the British and the whole world knows it, as does Pakistan. Second, we have no grudge against the people of Pakistan, we want friendly and brotherly relations,” he stressed on close ties with people of Pakistan.
He said that not the governments but only people can solve the Durand Line issue.
Responding to a question, Hamid Karzai said that he never recognized the Durand Line, and repeatedly expressed his viewpoint.
He further said that Pashtuns on other side of the Durand Line are victims of conspiracies.
“I am sad to say that Pashtuns on the other side of the Durand Line are also going through tough time. Pashtuns are killed as well as defamed in foreign imposed war. What happened in Waziristan—elders were killed as well as the people who were famous for Jirgas— indicates that there is something else going on in this region,” Hamid Karzai said.
Responding to a query regarding Pakistan’s military operation in North Waziristan which displaced thousands of people and left their properties destroyed, the former president said that he wrote a letter to the Prime Minister of Pakistan to target real nests of the terrorists rather than targeting civilians or a particular nation or group.
He said that terrorists are in the plans and policies of Pakistani military. “They [terrorists] are there [Pakistan], but not among the people. They are not in Miranshah, Wanna and Mir Ali. They are in the plans and policies of Pakistani military. They cannot be eliminated until Pakistani military stop using them,” he said.
Regarding construction of the gate at Torkham by Pakistani government, the former Afghan president said the gate constructed at Torkham is totally unfair and should be removed.
THE PASHTUN TIMES