‘Karzai’s victory bodes well for Pakistan’
ISLAMABAD: Hamid Karzai’s landslide victory in Afghanistan’s first presidential election augurs well for Pakistan, analysts said on Sunday. They said it would facilitate Pakistan’s key foreign policy goal of having a friendly, stable neighbour on its sensitive western border.
The fact that Karzai is from the ethnic Pashtun group that makes up 40 percent of Afghanistan’s population and has a sizeable parallel community in Pakistan added to Islamabad’s comfort over his win. Analysts said the Pashtun factor was behind Pakistan’s previous backing of the Taliban regime, which was made up of Pashtuns. Islamabad had consistently warned that the Pashtuns had to have their due share of power if Afghanistan was to be stabilised, political commentator Mohammad Azfal Niazi said. He added that Karzai was now in a better position to end Taliban resistance by integrating them into the mainstream.
A senior Pakistani foreign ministry official said, on condition of anonymity, that Pakistan had played an important role in stopping Taliban and foreign militants operating on its side of the Pak-Afghan border and disrupting the elections.
He highlighted the fact that Pakistan had facilitated out-of-country voting by Afghan refugees. Of the eight million votes cast in the election, 577,776 were done so in Pakistan.
The official said that a stable, democratic Afghanistan would have a stabilising impact on the whole region, adding that the economic and social development in that country would benefit the Pakistani people, especially in the border areas.
Political analyst Riffat Hussain, head of the strategic studies department at Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad, said that the Pashtun population in Pakistan should welcome Mr Karzai’s election, especially as he is widely believed to be well disposed towards Pakistan. afp