Pakistan must end the global perception that it harbours the Afghan Taliban and anti-India militants on its soil – for its own sake, a leading Pakistani daily said on Wednesday.
The Dawn quoted three former foreign secretaries and a former National Security Adviser as making the suggestion for the sake of regional peace.
“Clearly, there is no panacea to the region’s security troubles, no single action that can cure its ills,” a Dawn editorial said.
“Just as clearly, much will depend on sensible policies being adopted by Afghanistan and India, not least their penchant for externalizing blame for many problems of their own making.
“Yet, Pakistan’s distancing itself from all non-state actors and insurgents – a comprehensive, obvious and irreversible distancing – is a sine qua non for domestic and regional stability.”
While describing the Narendra Modi government in India as “bellicose”, the Dawn, however, pointed out that the problem of terrorism between India and Pakistan existed long before he became the Prime Minister.
“More to the point, Islamabad’s sensible and rightful diplomatic position on the Kashmir dispute has been internationally diminished by the perception that Pakistan nurtures anti-India militants on its soil.
“Where, after all, is the promised action against those involved in 2008 Mumbai attacks?
“Contrast also the negligible attention India’s recent atrocities in Kashmir have received internationally versus the grim coverage of the Uri attack” on the Indian Army that killed 18 soldiers, it said.
“If India will not budge and the world will not listen, how does it help Pakistan to give them reason for continuing to do so?”
The editorial went on: “We must reflect why is it that Pakistan has ended up always siding with the most regressive elements in Afghanistan, some of whom we falsely regarded as assets, why most educated Afghans have become alienated from us and why we allowed our policy to fall in the insidious Afghan ethnic divide.
“In recent times, even asking the right question tends to attract criticism from certain nationalistic quarters of seditious intent and aiding the perceived enemy.”
Saying what did not make sense in the 1990s cannot be good policy today, the daily said that Pakistani policy makers had helped to craft an environment in Afghanistan where radical Islamists among that country’s Pakhtuns were the only semi-allies Islamabad has.
Meanwhile, The Express Tribune said Islamabad “will do well to continue mounting both political and diplomatic offensive to put India in a tight corner, so much so that it feels impelled to repair its frosty relations with Pakistan”.
India-Pakistan ties have nose-dived after New Delhi blamed Islamabad for the September 18 terror attack on an Indian Army camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir that killed 18 soldiers. Pakistan has denied it was involved.