While it might be too optimistic to believe that Pakistan is on the brink of achieving the impossible, a slight hope for regional peace can be seen. Pakistan has played a vital role in pushing forward the peace process, by hosting the ‘Heart of Asia’ conference and inviting its neighbours amongst other members of the region, creating a conducive environment for dialogue. The theme of the conference, jointly hosted by Pakistan and Afghanistan, was focused on addressing security threats and building better communication. The highlight of the day remained that both Afghanistan and India have finally displayed willingness towards peace.

President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani remained on the offensive, delivering a strong message to his counterpart that he was willing to restart the peace process with the Taliban with Pakistan as a mediator, but also that he was fighting this war on behalf of everyone who has a stake in the region not just Afghanistan. His stance was clear; he may need Pakistan, but he was by no means seeking that help with his hat in his hand. He also stuck by his allegations of Pakistani involvement in the recent violence that had struck Afghanistan but did so under layers of acceptability by saying that they were ‘unintended consequences’ of Pakistan’s military operations. He called for better cooperation in military, political, and economic and intelligence aspects between the two countries to legitimise the peace process.

While his forthcoming attitude is commendable, can a 21 salute welcome and a thunderous speech be the end of the distrust and the blame game that has plagued Pak-Afghan relations since the beginning of the Zarb-e-Azb operation? Ghani has poisoned the well and broken the trust between the two countries.

Amidst rumours of secret meetings and sudden rendezvous of NSAs in Bangkok to discuss Kashmir and other points of contention between the two countries, India seems appeased at the moment. Swaraj remained diplomatic, even warm, stressing that she was here for Afghanistan and the interest that India has to accelerate the peace dialogue in the region. This is the first time in three years that an Indian dignitary has come to Pakistan to revive the peace dialogue and this is definitely a positive development. However till Kashmir remains unresolved, there is no question of peace. This is a start, yes, but it could just be the start of the unraveling of the slow and steady progress that our PM has made towards appeasing regional tensions. It is hard to be optimistic about countries like Afghanistan and India.