By Shakir Lakhani, a Pakistani blogger
30 December 2016
We were not very surprised when you, Mr Ashraf Ghani, at the Heart of Asia conference in India, conveniently forgot how much Pakistan has done for your country. You criticised Pakistan viciously and blamed it for the problems that you are facing and are not able to resolve.
You must have been a young man when the Soviet Union invaded your country in 1979 and ruled it for nine years. While Pakistan immediately condemned the invasion, along with most of the civilised world, India supported the Soviets. When most countries, including Pakistan, refused to send their teams to the Moscow Olympics, India sent its athletes and won the hockey gold metal, owing to Pakistan’s boycott. Yet you still want to maintain cordial relations with India? Not only that, you are bending over backwards to support India’s vicious campaign to isolate Pakistan, which is meant to deflect the attention of the international community from its brutal treatment of Kashmir’s freedom fighters.
Have you already forgotten that it was Pakistan which organised the liberation of Afghanistan and compelled the invaders to leave your country? Pakistan could have looked the other way, like India did, but because Afghanistan is our brotherly Muslim neighbour, we did everything in our power to help your country regain its freedom. At least remember this, Mr Ghani, the next time you open your mouth to blame Pakistan for your troubles.
For the past 30 years, Mr Ghani, Pakistan has hosted three million refugees from your country, giving them shelter and jobs, thus causing many of its own citizens to be unemployed. One of the refugees, Mr Ghani, was your former boss and president of Afghanistan himself, Hamid Karzai. Owing to our hospitality, we have seen unlimited weapons and drugs flowing into our country, as well as terrorists causing the deaths of over 50,000 innocent people.
But of course all this doesn’t mean anything to you. In fact, you even refused to accept Pakistan’s generous offer to give your country half a billion dollars. And you have the audacity to advise Pakistan to spend it on curbing terrorism, which you say is emanating from Pakistan – even though you are harbouring many terrorists yourself, to cause devastation in Pakistan.
So, why don’t you advise Modi to keep the billion dollars he wants to give you and spend it to provide toilets for poor Indians? Oh, no, you can’t do that; you can’t afford to offend a man responsible for Muslim genocide, can you? Have you already forgotten what happened to Dr Mohammad Najibullah, who couldn’t be saved when the mujahideen took over Kabul?
Afghanistan is a land-locked country dependent upon Pakistan for transit trade. We allow you to import whatever you want, and quite a lot of your imported goods find their way illegally into our markets, causing many of our industries to collapse, threatening many others with closure.
Do you know how India treats its land-locked neighbour Nepal? India charges custom duty on all Nepalese imports at its sea-ports, then refunds to Nepal the duty amount collected at the end of the financial year. This way, India is able to use all that money for its own purpose for a whole year. But that is not all. Since Nepalese importers don’t want to suffer the hassle of their money being blocked in this manner, they are forced to buy only Indian manufactured goods. Only when they require goods not manufactured in India do they import from other countries.
Would you like it if Pakistan imposed the same conditions on Afghanistan? And how would you react if Pakistan asked all Afghan refugees to leave the country immediately and go back to Afghanistan?
Gratitude is something which crude and ill-mannered people like you cannot feel. It’s time to be grateful, Mr Ashraf Ghani. It’s time to speak the truth and admit that you said what you did and blamed Pakistan for your problems because Mr Modi asked you to do so.
(This article has been republished with express permission of the writer as well as The Express Tribune on whose website the article first appeared on December 6.)