We have no one to blame by Malik Faisal Moonzajer

“Either Talibans are President Karzai’s allies or enjoy Pakistan’s support.” These words often echo when people in Afghanistan express themselves about the war.

What most of them forget is that Afghanistan and Pakistan have the same fate and predestination. They are both victims of terrorism, internal crises and foreign interference. But at the same time, they are both trying to scare each other. The only way to bring this to end is to offer peace and again peace.

Afghanistan with a population of less than 30 million is trying to set ultimatums for Pakistan whose population is more than 180 million.

What we are missing

Afghans have never identified what Pakistan really wants or vice versa and without knowing that we cannot make pretexts to blame each other. Regrettably, the two blind governments are always looking for reasons to blame each other.

When we, a group of more than 10 journalists travelled to Pakistan this June, we sought to talk about cross border attacks. We travelled with a lot of questions in our minds including those about Pakistani Taliban cross border attacks on Afghan soil. We blamed Pakistan for supporting and providing for the attacks and bloodshed of innocent Afghans. But the story on the other side turned out to the same when I researched some Pakistani newspapers. When in Pakistan, I realized that by cross border attacks, the local newspapers there meant Afghan Taliban attacks on Pakistan soil.

Some other headlines that caught my attention were:

  • Afghan Taliban attack Upper Dir Villages – Daily Times (07-07-2011)
  • Militants from Afghanistan launch another attack -The News (07-07-2011)
  • Hundreds of Afghans militant storm Dir village – Nation (07-07-2011)
  • Afghanistan warns Pakistan over fresh border shelling … In several newspapers

Everyday is a new propaganda, and the main role is played by the media that is misleading the governments and the nation. Ironically, most of the ‘trouble making’ headlines in the Pakistani and Afghan media come from agendas set by the western news agencies.

Take this example:

  • “Move or leave army” -Afghan soldiers with families in Pakistan get ultimatum – The Washington Post (18-02-2012)
  • Pakistan can influence outcome in Afghanistan: US senator – Washington post (also taken by DAWN newspaper of Pakistan on 18-02-2012)

There are hundreds of such headlines in western newspapers that seek to create enmity and increase dispute between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The only way we can promote peace and stabilise situations by omit enmity is offering peace and goodwill for each other and considering the balance, the truth and honesty in the news and do not propagate against each other.

While in Islamabad, Malik Faisal studied Afghanistan’s image portrayed by Pakistani newspapers. Here, he is sitting at the archive section of Pakistan’s largest English daily newspaper- Dawn.

Strings attached

We are like children of two such families whose fathers have had interpersonal disputes that are consequently affecting the children.

I stopped blaming Pakistan after I found out that an Afghan from Khost had carried a suicide attack in Jawzjan province some time back. All I can blame is my own traitor: The Afghan!

I neither blame Pakistan when Afghans complain for not being treated well there. After all they are there for work and not as guests. But I will always voice out when an illiterate Afghan policeman slaps a university teacher in the face in front of people and insult him.

A documentary by the Pakistani government shows some Pakistani soldiers singing their national anthem. After listening to it carefully, I noticed it’s in Persian, something I never new before, despite being a neighbour. I was more than shocked.

In Afghanistan, the story is quite different. I remember in 2007 one of the journalists in Afghanistan National Radio channel was forced to resign for using a Persian word for ‘university’ when he was expected to say it in Pashto (Danishgah instead of Pohanton). The Afghanistan Information and Culture minister had become furious for using the ‘infidel’s words’.

I have realized that Pakistan is not the problem. The main problem is that we always blame Pakistan for our internal crises – the ethnic matters. When I was a child, I was told that Shiite (Ahle Tashee) are the ‘dirtiest’ and was forbidden from going to their homes or accepting water or anything to eat from the let alone making friends with them.

Later, during my university years, I met a number of people from the Shiite community and realized how wrong they all were. Now most of my friends are Shiite.

In Pakistan, I never came across any such feelings for the Afghans. I was rather greeted the Pakistani way by people on the streets, in the restaurants and markets.

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