Pakistan and its neighbors: Back to square one – by Waseem Altaf



President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan assumes office on September 29, 2014. On 14 November 2014 he comes to Pakistan for indepth discussion on bilateral issues, regional situation and to further expand bilateral ties.

On November 23, 2014 a (Deobandi Taliban) suicide bomber kills 45 people and wounds 60 others during a volleyball match in southern Afghanistan. On November 27, a suicide attack in Kabul kills 6 people including a Briton.Two more suicide attacks take place on December 1st and December 11,2014 killing several people. As a consequence all confidence building measures collapse and everything comes back to square one.

On December 25, 2015 Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi makes a surprise stopover in Pakistan to meet his counterpart, Nawaz Sharif.The the two leaders establish a personal equation that can add momentum to the structured process of composite dialogue bringing the two neighbors closer.

On 2 January 2016, a heavily armed group (Deobandi JeM) attacks the Pathankot Air Force base, part of the Western Air Command of the Indian Air Force. Four attackers and two security forces personnel are killed in the initial battle, with an additional security force member dying from injuries hours later.

As a consequence all confidence building measures collapse and everything comes back to square one.

Iranian President, Dr. Hassan Rouhani visits Pakistan on 25-26 March,2016. It is a welcome sign that the leaders of the two countries are determined to provide a boost to Pak-Iran cooperation in political, economic, commercial and cultural fields.

On March 24, 2016, a day before the visit of the Iranian President, Kulbhushan Yadav, an Indian national is brought before the media (by pro-ASWJ/Deobandi establishment in Balochistan) over charges of spying for the Indian Research and Analysis Wing. Since he entered from Iran, Iranian connivance is doubted and is communicated to the Iranian president.

As a consequence the visit of the Iranian president is entirely hijacked by this incident and everything comes back to square one.