‘A Friendly Fire’


A heinous attack on Pakistan embassy in Kabul has invoked a strong protest from Islamabad, deploring the gory incident, prompting Afghan President Hamid Karzai to make an urgent call to President Musharraf for offering ‘apologies’–perceptibly to cool down the swelling tension, a natural upshot of such an act.

With the closure of the embassy in Kabul as a consequence of the un-called for assault by the ‘angry mob’, perceptibly led by Afghanistan’s State Bank Governor Anwarul Haq Ahadi, the Afghan Charge d’Affairs was summoned to foreign office in Islamabad to express Pakistan’s indignation over the episode.

This newest course–in the region–and that too, set off by a country which portrays itself as ‘a friend’ has to be weighed with a pragmatic approach. Virtually, apart from the normal responsibility of Afghan government under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 to protect diplomatic missions, property and personnel, the Afghan authorities could have–conveniently–prevented the opening of a Pandora’s Box.

One of the 53-Article Vienna Convention reads as:

‘Subject to its laws and regulations concerning zones entry into which is prohibited or regulated for reasons of national security, the receiving State shall ensure to all members of the mission freedom of movement and travel in its territory’. [Article 26]

The rest is elucidated in related articles which provide for measures like full protection of the embassies of each-other with adequate n’ hefty arrangements.

Did the Kabul regime do so–remains a big question mark. Yet every realistic soul would accept that such an incident would have been averted–with might, if it would have been put in top gear. Or for that matter, with a spontaneous full-blast action against the culprits. This facet is still in wait.

Amid this incident, a lot of eye-brows stand lifted, not only in this part of the world by even beyond oceanic. Every realistic soul is left with no option but to ask; Is this the way to pay-back [to Pakistan] for making the ex-Soviet invasion evaporated from the fabulous soil of Afghanistan, Is it the style of a reward for kicking out Babrak Karmal, who rolled onto the Afghan realm, sitting on tank? Is this the way of expressing adore for hosting over 3 million Afghan refugees in 1979 [now over 6 million] in the time of their perilous agony? Is it the feedback for making sacrifices of unique nature–even at the cost of putting relations with the ten super power, the Soviet Union–at risks only to protect the interests n’ integrity of the fellows-in-faith? Is this a fabulous crest or a reward for un-restricted free flow and movement plus running business of their own choice to the aliens–at par with the people of Pakistan? Plus many more, indexed in crystal clear words in t! he history of Pak-Afghan relations, which have by n’ large been alluring n’ inspiring to the eventual benefit of Kabul!

An in-depth serious study shall reveal that Pakistan’s ‘respected guests’, paradoxically could not create love amongst their off-springs, which is manifested by the Kabul story, where an angry mob attacked the Pakistan embassy, damaging its furniture, its vehicles, its computers besides indulging into a shameful act of setting Afghan’s benefactor, Pakistan’s sanctified n’ reverential flag afire.

The Afghans also staged a demonstration ‘to register their protest’ against the operation by Pakistani law-enforcement agencies in their own tribal belt–which would eventually benefit them [the Afghans] as a solid shield for protection from terrorists–operating from their own soil. Isn’t the best n’ apposite way to save Afghans from global embarrassment, which they are facing with swelling attacks on the Karzai-approved Coalition forces, having bases in Afghanistan?

Though, Hamid Karzai sensing the urgency and seriousness of situation did contact President Musharraf by telephone and spoke on the topic for half an hour, yet he shall have to do more–at least for Afghanistan’s own interests not to talk of the security of diplomats, stationed on his land.

Its’ laudable that Karzai termed the assault on Pakistani embassy as an attack on Afghanistan and assured General Pervez Musharraf that ‘the culprits would be sternly dealt with and awarded exemplary punishment’. But he [Karzai] shall have to detect the raison d’étre of such a spiteful act.

Without going into the depth of such an incident, prima-facie such acts on the part of unscrupulous elements–in Afghanistan–seemed aimed at harming the interests of both Pakistan and Afghanistan apart from bedeviling their relations–at the behest of a common enemy with India atop.

A considerate, pragmatic and zestful President Musharraf while expressing his concern over the callous, vicious n’ sadistic occurrence expressed the hope that such an untoward incident would be averted in future. Any way every peace-loving nations shall deplore the attack on Pakistan’s embassy as a culpable n’ vile act, which would in the long run prove repugnant to the efforts with an outlook of a model relationship between the two neighbours.

Pakistan attaches great significance to its close relations with Afghanistan which is evident from its support to the Bonn process and the Karzai government. But it can in no way be a one-sided affair. If at all Karzai regime is sincere, it shall have to take instant cognizance of the statements–being periodically aired–by some of those in the Kabul Cabinet, explicitly by the young foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, who has by n’ large been ambiguous vis-a-vis his perceptions towards Pakistan.

Simultaneously, love and adore for Pakistan shall have to be injected into the minds n’ souls of each n’ every Afghan for what Pakistan is and has been doing to the optimal for their best affluence. As far Pakistan, its people would continue to take care of their Afghan brethren, wherever they are dwelling–in the same way as has been acknowledged with fabulous words around the globe.

While passing through a phase of re-construction of Afghanistan, the Kabul regime is required to strike against the common enemy(s) at-once, lest a point of no-return erupts–which shall obviously cause no harm to Pakistan but would certainly be a tarmac of perils for its dearest n’ nearest lovely friend–Afghanistan.

One can take the Tuesday’s nasty event, initiated by the attackers of the Pakistan embassy–as a ‘friendly fire’ [alike those which took place between US n’ UK marines in Afghanistan and subsequently in Iraq] yet with a definite expect that it shall not be allowed to re-occur come-what-may.

The author is a noted journalist, political analyst and ex-Director News Pakistan TV. He is a regular contributor to Media Monitors Network (MMN).