The recent meeting of the world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has brought forth several positive arenas for Pakistan to work on. While the agenda for the meeting was collective efforts for economic growth, sustainable development, maintenance of international peace and security, promotion of human rights and justice, disarmament and crime prevention; there are several developments that are specifically beneficial to Pakistan.
The first is the Afghan President, Ashraf Ghani’s speech on the UNGA floor. Ghani has reiterated the need to sustain talks with Pakistan to establish peace and security in the region of South Asia. This call for dialogue is a reflection of Afghanistan’s realisation that the answer to Afghan stability does not lie in blaming Pakistan, rather including Pakistan in the peace process. While Afghanistan, following the narrative of India, has maligned Pakistan a lot in the past; this speech can mark and outline the future frame of action.
The second significant development is Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s meeting with the Vice President of the United States of America (USA), Mike Pence. In this meeting both the parties established the need for working with each other and taking the collaboration a step forward. They emphasized on following a constructive approach, which would ultimately lead towards peace, stability and economic prosperity in the region.
What both of these gestures highlight is the fact that if we ignore the ill-will caused by President Donald Trump’s ignorant remarks on Pakistan, all the major parties caught in this regional conflict – Pakistan, Afghanistan and the USA – want a way out through negotiations and cooperation. This is the best opportunity that Pakistan has had in a long time to cut through the difference that has developed over time in the relationship between these countries and start anew.
Pakistan must respond with equal enthusiasm and display trust in these gestures offered by the parties. The best way to do it would be through the platform of the UNGA and give the process a kickstart and show the world that Pakistan also in fact wants a peaceful solution, and is willing to help cleanse the area of extremist elements.
Since we have managed to sustain our friendly ties with Iran, Turkey and China in the recent diplomatic missions; the prospect of productive regional cooperation in Afghanistan looms large. The time to act is now and must be availed well by our diplomats.