The death of at least 15 Afghans, mostly women, in a stampede in a stadium in Jalalabad city where thousands of Afghan citizens had gathered to get Pakistani visas reflects the sorry state of affairs in the war-torn country. It is the absence of resources and infrastructure in Afghanistan that push Afghan people to apply for Pakistani visas. For many Afghans, Pakistan is their second home. As soon as the Pakistani consulate resumed visa services, it was natural to expect that thousands of Afghans would run to the facility to apply for visas.

The Afghans’ rush to get access to Pakistan highlights our key role in protecting and providing health and living facilities to the people of Afghanistan. There might have been a few hiccups, but Pakistan always welcomes Afghans no matter what. Similarly, the Afghan people also choose Pakistan as their first option whenever they fail to seek remedies for their problems in their own country. It is worth noting that Pakistan is the only state to grant visas to Afghan people this generously.

Given the lack of facilities in Afghanistan, it is evident that a large number of people will apply for Pakistan’s visa in future as well. To avoid further such mishaps, the government of Pakistan must chalk out a strategy together with the Afghan officials to work out how to take this process forward. Considering the ongoing peace talks in Afghanistan, hopes are high that the country will see stability soon.

However, what is missing from these negotiations is the plight of the Afghan people. The parties to the intra-Afghan dialogue must not forget that the actual issues that they must find solutions for must be the hardships that ordinary Afghans face. The peace negotiations must grant political, social and economic rights to the people of Afghanistan. Otherwise, the peace talks will be just another sham attempt to bring peace and stability in the lives of Afghans.