Analyzing the Dynamics of Pakistan-Afghanistan Relations: Past and Present

By Javaid, Umbreen | South Asian Studies, January-June 2016 | Go to article overview

Analyzing the Dynamics of Pakistan-Afghanistan Relations: Past and Present


Javaid, Umbreen, South Asian Studies


Historical Contextualization

Pakistan, since her inception, embodied the principle of establishing friendly relations with Muslim countries in the very foundations of her foreign policy. This friendly narrative grew out of the speeches of Jinnah in first constituent assembly of Pakistan where he focused on nourishing cordial ties with all the states of the world in general and with Muslim states in particular. This became a guiding principle of Pakistan's foreign policy formally enshrined article 40 of the constitution of Pakistan which states,

"The State shall endeavor to preserve and strengthen fraternal relations among Muslim countries based on Islamic unity, support the common interests of the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America, promote international peace and security, foster goodwill and friendly relations among all nations and encourage the settlement of international disputes by peaceful means"("The constitution of Pakistan 1973," 1973).Paradoxically her relations with neighboring Afghanistan a predominantly Muslim majority state have remained strained if not hostile. The course of relations between the two countries as moved in a very opposite direction much against what M. A Jinnah had foreseen on 3 rd December 1947 on the eve of receiving special representative of King of Afghanistan to Pakistan. M. A. Jinnah expressed his goodwill in the following words, "I desired the relationship between the two sister nations may be of the greatest and the most lasting friendship, and I hope that the two Governments will soon be able to settle and adjust, in a spirit of goodwill for the benefit of both, all those matters which require our immediate attention, and I do trust that the coming negotiations, that may take place, will secure and strengthen all the more the goodwill and friendship between our two countries which already exist("Pakistan and Afghanistan two sister nations ", 2003).

Pakistan's ambition to carve out brotherly relations with its neighboring Muslim country could not be reciprocated as successive Afghan government had been nurturing negative attitude towards newly born state of Pakistan this antagonistic mindset of the Afghan governments at roots in the shared colonial history of the two neighboring countries. The sorry scheme of events that has led to estrangement in bilateral relations between both countries is deeply enmeshed in a series of events that can be grouped into three distinct phases; pre-colonial, post-colonial and post 9/11.

Fault-line in Pre-Colonial Era

The monarchical government in Afghanistan and British colonial master had been at ease till the partition of the subcontinent despite the cruel fact that British government in South Asia used Afghanistan as buffer zone against the huge white beer. The partition gave new impetus to the silent hostility building in Afghanistan. It was over the issue of Durand line. The premises upon which the logic of, denying Durand line as permanent boarder, was built could not be conceived cordially in Pakistan. It was the claim to the inheritance of all the British pacts signed with neighboring countries by Britain before 1947. The antagonizing claims over the geographical boarders have diverse interpretations on both sides. The modern history of Afghanistan dates back to 1747 and Afghan governments believe in the permanence of Durand line. The creation of Pakistan was not welcomed in the power corridor of Afghanistan. The Pashtunistan stunt in 1947 in which Afghan government claimed the entire North West Frontier Province (currently Khuyber Pakhtun Khaw) forced Afghan government to vote against Pakistan in United Nations the only dissenting vote against Pakistan. Afghan government considered that their ethnic identity rather than a provincial status of Pakhtuns of Pakistan should be taken into consideration while demarcating the international boarder. Pakhtunistan in historic imagery of Pakhtun nation has been portrayed as an historical shared homeland and they considered that this homeland was divided in 1893 in order to serve the nefarious designs of British government. …

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