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'Peaceful Afghanistan can improve Indo-Pak ties'
October 31, 2006 19:58 IST
Asking India to play its role in rebuilding Afghanistan, a senior leader of Pakistan's Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal on Tuesday said this could help in improving Indo-Pak ties and bring peace to the region.
"If MMA can play a role in Afghanistan, other tribal leaders can play a role in restoring peace in the war-hit country. If Pakistan can do it, why can't India," Hafiz Hussain, leader of Islamist alliance MMA, told a press conference before returning to Pakistan.
He said the issue of Afghanistan was linked to forging peace between India and Pakistan as well.
"After Soviet Union was thrown out of Afghanistan, numerous gun-wielding youths suddenly went jobless. They are creating problems in Kashmir as well as in parts of Pakistan. If the two countries join hands and ensure proper rehabilitation of jobless youths in Afghanistan, the process of peace between India and Pakistan will speed up," he said.
Regretting that both countries were hurling accusations against each other, Hussain, deputy general secretary of the MMA, said, "While India claims Pakistan uses Afghan land to train militants for Kashmir, Islamabad accuses New Delhi of misusing its consulate in Kandahar for spreading terror in border areas like Balochistan."
These allegations and counter-allegations should end and both countries should work jointly towards building a peaceful Afghanistan so that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces are out of Asian continent, he said.
Hussain said both India and Pakistan should rise above their stands and work towards betterment of people.
"The forthcoming foreign secretary-level talks between the two countries should aim at ushering in a new era of peace in the region," Hussain, who was flanked by Pakistan Peoples' Party parliamentarian Chaudhury Manzoor, Jammu and Kashmir Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Mohammed Yusuf Tarigami and noted Gandhian Nirmala Deshpande, said.
Manzoor, who is also a member of the Pakistan's National Assembly, said the stand-off between the two neighbours was not in the interest of the region and would only benefit only a few.
"I need not name the country, but let us give it a serious thought. Both the countries are purchasing arms from only one Western nation. That country is only beneficiary from the unrest in Asia," the Pakistani parliamentarian said, hinting at the United States.
Both the Pakistani MPs and Tarigami were of the view that parliamentarians and religious leaders should be taken into confidence by their respective governments while finding a solution to the problems, including Kashmir and Siachen.