The ignorance on display concerning the Torkham border skirmish is dismaying.
First off blaming refugees is wrong & pathetic.They owe nothing to Pakistan. The Pakistani state played a massive role in destabilizing the Afghan state & continues to involve itself using proxies. There should be no delusions concerning that. How do you expect people to be grateful when they aren’t treated humanely? When they aren’t legally allowed to own sim cards, work or rent,& are subject to constant harassment by LEAs? All that did was force some to cheat the system & secure Pakistani NICs & passports illegally, which many of our politicians & officials (civil & military) aided & abetted them in doing.
Second, the unprovoked firing is a result of the long standing policy of not recognizing the Durand Line as a border.The 1893 agreement did not formally demarcate a border & the Allies in the UN invoking uti possidetis juris post-independence was technically illegal. As things stand Pakistan has taken up a harsh stance against Afghans & wishes to forcefully “repatriate” (evict) them. This is a dangerous move. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had already requested a little elbow room considering how much of a burden forced repatriation will be on the Afghan economy & society.
Pakistan naturally assumes now that this isn’t their problem but let’s not forget, what falls in the Kabul eventually ends up in the Indus. For Afghanistan this is a zero sum game; damned if you do & damned if you don’t. However their decision to attack is a foolish one considering it will only serve to expedite the eviction process & force people to abandon whatever little goodwill they had for the Afghan government. Lesser beings will target poor & defenseless refugees. Afghanistan has suffered from the effects of war more than Pakistan has. If we can’t show empathy on a state or diplomatic level that doesn’t mean we should do the same on a personal level.
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The writer is a surgeon and tweets at @JammanKhattak