Afghanistan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday said that the conflict in north-western parts of Pakistan and Balochistan is equivalent to a “war” and unlike the violence in his country, the media is “not covering” this and use of force by Pakistan army.
Interacting with participants, including strategic experts, and media persons at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses here, Ghani said that south Asia is reeling under “two wars” — one in Afghanistan which “is not a civil war” and the other in Pakistan.
However, he said, “the war in Pakistan” is not being covered adequately by the media.
“Around 2,700 (Pakistani) forces moved to the north-western province and also Balochistan; this violence needs to be covered (by media) as people need to talk about it to address it,” Ghani said while answering questions.
However, to a specific question on whether he would support the “independence movement” in Balochistan, he said his country and his government do not interfere in the internal affairs of any country.
“We respect international norms,” Ghani said even as he maintained that if people in these regions are not happy, there is a constitutional framework within Pakistan and that should be able to address the issue.
However, in a veiled attack on Pakistan’s use of force, he said: “Forces do not keep people together, rights and connectivity do.”
The Afghan President dealt at length with various aspects of terrorism over the years, including the rise of “anarchism” and maintained that stability in a country or a region does not come through a gun.
At the same time, he said “distinction between good and bad terrorists” was a short-sighted approach to the whole issue.
“Good terrorists are the ones that attack your neighbours; bad terrorists are the ones who attack you. This type of approach is enormously short-sighted. The blowback is going to be bad. Terrorism will bite like a snake whoever feeds it,” he said.
To a question on Pakistan trying to create hurdles in India-Afghanistan trade through the Wagah border in Punjab, he said both New Delhi and Kabul should not be much worried.
He said his government had tried to maintain openness with countries like India, China and Iran, but any country which tries to block “two great nations (India, Afghanistan) will be itself blocked”.
He implied that blocking trade between New Delhi and Kabul would harm Pakistan’s economic interest as well since historically the region has seen immense trade since the Mughal era.