ISLAMABAD March 01, 2018: “The thinking within the leadership and governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan is one; the desire is there. The trick is how to get there, which we both actually desire and which is actually the desire of the people in both countries as well. In Pashto, there is an expression which translates as ‘Love increases with visits and counter-visits, so sometimes you visit and sometimes I will visit you, my beloved,’” stated the Afghan Ambassador, Dr. Omar Zakhilwal while speaking at Pak-Afghan Youth Cultural Get Together hosted by the Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) in Islamabad on Wednesday.
Ambassador Dr. Omar Zakhilwal said that the relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan is multidimensional. It is not just the relationship of two neighbors, but of a common history, culture, language, interests, threats and many other commonalities. “I do believe sooner or later, we will find a path forward, because we have no other option. Having said that, there is a sense of urgency, we have to find the path sooner. For this, we need to get bolder, smarter and rely on our own bilateral initiatives.”
Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. (retd.) Nasser Khan Janjua, who was invited as the Chief Guest along with the Ambassador, stated that it was time that we got over the expression of ‘lack of trust’ when referring to Pakistan and Afghanistan. “We have fought for each other. We have fed each other. We can share the bread. We can share anything and everything like brothers and sisters can do,” he said while adding that Pakistan sees a common future with Afghanistan. He also stated that universities, colleges and schools were all available for Afghan youth, urging them to optimally utilize these educational facilities in Pakistan.
NSA further urged to unite in embracing a better future, stating that he was not prepared to bleed anymore or to see his Afghan brethren bleeding anymore. “Those who carry themselves with some mistrust, like the Ambassador said so rightly, we have no other option. I think even if we have any other option, let’s drop it.” He also thanked the visiting Afghan delegation of CRSS’ Pak-Afghan Track 1.5/II initiative Beyond Boundaries for visiting Pakistan and commended the efforts of the Center through this initiative for improving bilateral relations.
The evening continued with several mesmerizing performances by young Afghan and Pakistani artists and students studying in Quad-i-Azam and International Islamic University Islamabad. The ceremony was attended by an overwhelming gathering of over 200 alumni of CRSS’ Afghan Studies Center initiative who travelled long distances to participate in the ceremony and mingle with their Afghan and Pakistani fellows. As part of its efforts to bridge the gap of mistrust between the people of both countries, CRSS’ Afghan Studies Center has an ongoing series of Pak-Afghan youth dialogues and training workshops in Islamabad.
Afghan Parliamentarian Elay Ershad paid her gratitude to Pakistan for giving young Afghans the opportunity to acquire education in Pakistani institutes and stated that many of those who had studied in the country returned to acquire high positions in Afghanistan.
The ceremony carried on the message of peace and harmony between the youth from both countries present who towards the closing in high spirits performed Attan (the Pashtoon cultural dance), inspired by the message of Pakistan’s NSA; “Let’s embrace the brighter future and you, the youth, this belongs to you. Let’s join hands.”