Pak-Afghan relations


Rediscovering Peace through Ancient and Modern Silk Road: Stretching their lovesick arms out in the south-east and south-west of the Karakoram and Hindukush, perch the princely beauties of Pakistan and Afghanistan. This is the plateau where Himalayas, Hindukush, Karakoram and Tianshan mountain-ranges of India, Afghanistan, China and Pakistan intertwine. At the crossroads of Central Asia, the Magnificent Pamir Heights intercept the fabled towns of Kashghar and Turpan. Rapturous vineyards embellish the place since centuries. Crisscrossing glorious mountain-tops, Af-Pak possess legendary past, transformable from its contended arena to a blissful abode.
Uzbek, Tajek, Turkmen and Persians in Afghanistan while Sindhi, Siraiki and Punjabi across Pakistan enculturate their respective lands with music, poetry and mysticism while Hazara, Baloch and Pashtuns inhabit across Helmand and Hindukush imbued with the fiction and melodies of their tribal arrogance. Unique and diverse, as is the flora and fauna, so is the religion and rituals of these lands. Many a villagers still live in their republics of peace and piety without much concern with the power and proxy wars.
Utterly desired by this hour, let the bars and borders stay upon the map and let the people hearten from both sides to interact and engage. Let the railway run through Bolan; let the trams pass by Khyber Pass and let the terrains dance in exchange of love and folklore as would do the camel-led caravans of Taklimakan and burly horses of Farghana.
Despite the bicentennial grab and greed of ‘strategic possession’, Afghanistan is vivacious enough to aspire for its divine spirit of harmony and concord. Shook by political turmoil and terror, Pakistan too maintains its diversified ethos and poetic affection across.
Beyond bordering-conflicts and blaming-brawls, arts and civilizations plead people to embrace their past and present differently from the way it is thrusted upon by the powers-that-be. An inspiring story holds the power to dismantle hostile narratives and reframe relations from a cultural perspectives. Apart from other avenues, tradition may open-up windows of transverse travel and tourism too.
Overriding every odd, Silk Route once transmitted the fantasy tales of ‘thousand-and-one-nights’ from Euphrates and Tigris to Aras, Kabul and Indus civilizations. Clad in peace and pacifism, for over a millennium, the route kept transporting fiction and fables crossways till the seafaring replaced horses and camels. But so long as sun shines and winds blow, sargam and stories shall never stop crossing fences and check posts. Now struggling with itself and others alike, half a millennia ago, Afghanistan was a cradle of cross-cultural civilizations nurtured by the Silk Route treading.
Once upon time, a thin route from Kashgar twisted across our beloved Karakoram to run into the upper Indus down to the fertile plains of Ganges. Its south-western route ran through Wakhan corridor of Pamir to the present day Balkh and further down to the eastern edge of the Persian Empire. Traversing through sand-dunes and wind-worn-rocks, mercantile convoys, along with the commodities, also exchanged the words of wisdom. Traded through the same route, Chinese Silk was so precious that it was literally weighed in gold while stories walked around for free.
Ancient Kingdoms of Samarkand and Bukhara, Neshapur and Tabrez as well as northern valleys of Pakistan to Constantinople honoured narrators and rhymesters voyaging along the same route. After all unfamiliar lands and exotic people divulge stories, unforgettable.