Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, July 23rd, 2017

Time to End the Blame Game

There is an ancient Chinese story: “A man lost an axe. Suspecting one of his neighbors of stealing it, he began to observe the latter’s behavior. Everything the neighbor did seemed to the other man to resemble the action of an axe stealer. Later, however, the man found his axe, and from then on his neighbor’s action no longer resembled those of an axe stealer.” The moral of the story is that people must cast away biased views and negative mindset towards one another.
Spreading hatred and mistrust will sow the seed of animosity among neighboring countries. For instance, Afghanistan and Pakistan exchanged harsh rhetoric and continued the blame game over terrorist issues for years. The Afghan-Pak officials and media engaged in sparking off hatred and stereotypes and filled the air with a strong sense of distrust. The two countries accused each other of harboring terrorist networks and supporting militant fighters. Their relation hit rock bottom with the escalation of terrorist attacks both in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The February 14 attack on Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan and the deadly attack on May 31 in the heart of Kabul – both the incidents killed and wounded hundreds of people, including women and children – fueled the mutual tension as the blame game continued endlessly.
Although the relation between Kabul and Islamabad is likely to thaw, there is still a sense of mistrust. The Republic of China seeks to bridge the gap between the two countries as Wang Yi, Chinese foreign minister, had a trip to Afghanistan and Pakistan to discuss resuming peace talks.
Moreover, a high-level delegation of US senators traveled to Kabul and Islamabad recently and visited the South Waziristan tribal region along with Pakistani army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and met the leaders of the National Unity Government (NUG) to discuss security situation and urge the two neighboring countries to target the leadership councils of the Taliban, mainly the Haqqani network.
The two recent struggles are likely to bridge the rift between Afghan-Pak officials. The time is ripe for the two countries, which are in the same boat, to bury the hatchet and join forces for combating terrorism.
There is no doubt that Afghanistan and Pakistan bore the brunt of militancy and suffered severely as a result of terrorism and extremism. Afghan-Pak nations left bloody days behind and sustained heavy casualties.
It is self-explanatory that terrorist networks seek to spill the blood of combatants and non-combatants wherever possible. In other words, the nature of terrorists is to kill individuals and destroy infrastructures regardless of the border and geography. Therefore, terrorism has been changed into a global threat.
Insurgency and terrorist attacks will not be reduced in light of blame game and harsh rhetoric. That is to say, the relentless blame game heightened the tension between Afghan-Pak officials and triggered a sense of public sensitivity rather than stopping the bleeding wound.
Afghan-Pak officials will not have to view each other like “the axe stealer” and stop blaming each other right now. It is widely accepted that an insecure Afghanistan or Pakistan will be a threat to the entire region. The two countries must seek common grounds for having shared interests and destiny. It is time to cultivate a strong bond of friendship so as to root out terrorism.
The media in both countries are to play their role positively and avoid fueling mutual tension. This is the moral responsibility of journalists to figure out and unfold the facts. I have constantly experienced the kind attitude of Pakistanis towards Afghans. For example, when I had missed my flight in China, it was my Pakistani journalist friend Zamir Assadi who did me a great favor through helping me to book a ticket and sharing his room for days. So, we need to change our views and do not treat one another on the basis of our personal presumptions.
It is believed that if we change our views towards each other, the challenges will be alleviated to a great extent and there will be no need for third party to mediate between the two neighboring countries. The rift between Afghanistan and Pakistan is more likely to be exploited by terrorist networks and insurgency will continue unabated.
To combat terrorism successfully and mitigate the escalated insurgency, bridging the gap is the first and foremost step to be taken. The media and officials play a crucial role in this regard and must fulfill their responsibilities. Otherwise, the two nations will suffer insurgency and terrorist attacks as ever before. Realizing the destructive role of the blame game, it is hoped that the two countries will shake hands with each other and join forces to combat terrorism effectively.