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Experts stress a review of Afghanistan policy

ISLAMABAD, MAR 21 /DNA/ – Experts urged the Government of Pakistan to review its Afghanistan policy in light of the recent 7 developments in Afghanistan. They were speaking at a roundtable discussion jointly organized by the Institute of Regional Studies (IRS) and the Area Study Centre, University of Peshawar. The participants of the roundtable were of the view that the rapid pace of developments in Afghanistan culminating in the rise of the Taliban to power in Afghanistan had necessitated a shift in Pakistan’s policy towards Afghanistan. They cautioned against using the issuance of visas or the border trade with Afghanistan as a method of coercion against the Afghan government. The participants expressed their concern about the lack of goodwill among the people of Afghanistan towards Pakistan despite Pakistan’s hosting of millions of Afghan refugees over the years and assisting Afghanistan in other ways. They were of the view that some of Pakistan’s policies aimed at having a friendly government across its western border had impacted the lives of ordinary Afghans. This, they maintained, had negatively impacted the public goodwill that could be generated through Pakistan’s generous support to Afghanistan in a variety of ways including the hosting of Afghan refugees. The experts underscored the independent character of the people of Afghanistan and urged the government of Pakistan to treat the people and the government of Afghanistan as sovereign equals. They also encouraged the Government of Pakistan to take strong action against militant groups operating inside Pakistan and cooperate with the Afghan government to make sure that Afghan soil was not used for terrorist activities either within Afghanistan, the neighbourhood of Afghanistan, or any other part of the world. The participants of the roundtable included President IRS Ambassador Nadeem Riyaz, Director Area Study Centre Professor Shabir Ahmed Khan, Assistant Professor Area Study Centre Dr Ahmad Farhan Saeed, Assistant Professor Area Study Centre Dr Mohammad Shafi, Lecturer Area Study Centre Dr Muhammad Ali Dinakhel, Editor IRS Mr Aarish U. Khan, and researchers of IRS.=DNA ===========

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