Afghan refugee Sharbat Gula

Afghan refugee Sharbat Gula will travel to India for receiving medical treatment in a hospital in Bangalore, as she is suffering from Hepatitis C. She was arrested by FIA on October, 26 from Peshawar on the charges of forgery of Computerized National Identity Card (CNIC). She was later detained to Afghanistan, where she received a warm welcome and offered a furnished apartment by President Ashraf Ghani.

Time has proved that politicians have always exploited the masses for achieving their goals. Sharbat Gula, an icon of regional conflict, is serving the role of pawn in regional politics of Pakistan, Afghanistan and India; the recent move of India to offer Gula medical treatment in Bangalore, puts testimony to this fact.

Gula is one among those millions of Afghan refugees who became a victim of regional political manoeuvring. Green -eyed Sharbat Gula, featured on the cover of National Geographic as Afghan Mona Lisa is not only a symbol of existential crises for human beings but also elaborates the formative basis of relationship triangle among the India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

It is indeed inevitable for India to come forward and benefit from the demise of cordial Pak-Afghan relationships to fulfil its long dream of ruling as a regional superpower. Such Trickle by India is indeed a way to fuel outrage in Pakistan.

In the case of  Gula, it is much evident; Pakistan detained her; Afghanistan offered her a luxurious life, and now India would provide her medical treatment.

There is no need paying heed to suffering of the rest of Afghan refugees when the political goals can be achieved by exploiting the one Sharbat Gula.

As the cold war ended the relationship of Pakistan with Afghanistan became more nonchalant. India tactfully benefited from this opportunity and increased its regional ties with Afghanistan. Completion of Salma Dam, also known as Afghan-India friendship dam, in Afghanistan with financial aid from India is an example of cooperation between both the countries.

As a result of US-Soviet war and US-Taliban war, Pakistan received more than 2.5 million Afghan refugees including 1.5 registered refugees. Despite passing more than two decades in Pakistan, these refugees have never been able to gain the citizenship of Pakistan, in fact, they always have to face the accusation of being terrorists by Pakistani security agency and citizens.

Ironically, Pakistani people who have failed to accept the Afghan refugees as fellow citizens, harshly criticize the European countries who don’t allow Syrian refugees to migrate towards Europe as they fear the most likely import of terrorism from Middle East.

Despite, the worst law and order situation in Afghanistan, repatriation of Afghan refugees has already started because of severe scrutiny by Pakistan government. Initially, there were no visa and passport requirements for them to visit Afghanistan, but now these are mandatory. Further, given terrorist attacks in Pakistan, Afghan refugees also have to face the accusations of crime and terrorism on behalf of security agencies and even people of Pakistan.

Cold relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan has paved the way for regional instability; both these countries accuse each other of giving and providing shelter to the cross-border terrorists who periodically launch terrorist attacks. These circumstances, actually jeopardise the Pakistan’s position as a defender of its border, because he has to guard both the Eastern as well as Western sides owing to the tense relations with countries on both fronts.

Given Pakistan’s position in regional politics, It has to carefully take steps for preventing further deterioration of relations with neighbours and avoid any possible geographical isolation.


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