Pakistan's Relations With Afghanistan Face New Challenges: Speakers.

ISLAMABAD -- Pakistan's relations with neighbouring Afghanistan are facing some new challenges over the last one year since Taliban took over Kabul and the former need to adopt a regional approach while framing any policy towards the landlocked country.

Furthermore, Pakistan should revisit its policy towards Afghanistan and treat the country as a sovereign state.

The experts expressed these views in a consultation on 'Afghan peace and reconciliation: Pakistan's interests and policy options' organised by Islamabad-based Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) here.

The lawmakers, academicians, former diplomats, retired army officers, journalists and experts on security and Afghan affairs participated in the discussion.

The main themes of the consultation, which is 5th one in a series of discussions organised by PIPS on Afghan peace process, include 'One year of Taliban rule: Emerging Afghan situation and its interface with the countries near and beyond' and 'A review of emerging Pak-Afghan relations.'

Seasoned politician and Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Defence Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed in his keynote address said that Pakistan needed to adopt a regional approach to frame any policy towards Afghanistan and treat the neighbouring country as a sovereign state. 'Our biggest fallacy on Afghan policy is that we have been playing favourites.'

Senator Sayed deplored that even after over 40 years, the Afghan story was not over and there were new challenges in this regard. In the context of Pakistan, he said that the focus should be 'who makes the policy and what policy should be made.' He also supported the suggestion that a working group should be formed on the Afghan issue.

Former National Security Adviser Lt Gen (Retd) Nasser Khan Janjua in his remarks endorsed the view of other experts that policy review is required for Afghanistan.

He stressed that Afghan issue was still unsettled in the larger context and Pakistan should treat the Afghan people with honour and respect.

He said that they should keep in mind that banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was a defeated phenomenon. 'We want closure of war,' he said, adding that Pakistan should see Afghanistan in the larger context that both have a common future.

Political analyst and expert on Afghan affairs ex-Senator Afrasiab Khattak said that Pakistan needed to revisit and rectify its policy towards Afghanistan. 'Afghanistan is facing the threat of disintegration and Pakistan will...

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