Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pakistan cannot and should not accept a new wave of Afghan refugees

Over the past few days, I've been reading of reports of the rise in violence and instability in Afghanistan.
More recently are reports of a tearful Hamid Karzai in his worries of Afghan youth leaving the country.

This cannot only indicate an exodus of young people from Afghanistan, but a complete departure of people of all ages from the country. Why would such a mass exodus be simply consisted of young people? Adults are as prone to violence and kidnappings in Afghanistan, particularly elderly people and women.

That being mentioned, the suggestion of an exodus would only mean a new wave of Afghan refugees fleeing to neighboring countries, particularly Pakistan just like in the first Afghan war against the Soviet Union.
In the first war, Pakistan welcomed millions of Afghan refugees and provided shelter for many of them. This was one of it's biggest mistakes.

Pakistan is an extremely poor and overpopulated country to begin with. The massive flow of refugees only contributed to the overpopulation. Then there's the historical contempt many Afghans have had for Pakistan. Even before the outbreak of the first Afghan war, the country was determined to take Pakistan's western provinces away through various methods.

Even after giving shelter and aid to the refugees all Pakistan was given in return was more hatred and contempt. Many Afghan refugees who fled to western countries and gained good education and descent standards of living, reembarked on their propaganda war against Pakistan.

From Internet forums to social networking websites to video sharing websites the best use they have found amongst many Afghans is hatred towards Pakistan and Pakistani people, particularly Punjabis as they are the largest ethnic group in Pakistan's armed forces and political system.

Even after the fall of the Taliban and the occupation of NATO, Afghanistan had a chance to rebuild.
Instead of calling out for educated Afghan expatriates worldwide to contribute in the rebuilding of the country, the new Afghan government only installed tribal illiterates, religious extremists and others.

Today the ambitions of this new government seems to be nothing more than a repeat of it's previous predecessors: Destroying Pakistan and erasing the Durand Line.
Even instead of tackling key problems Afghanistan faces, many Afghans both in Afghanistan and worldwide are more interested in embarking on a propaganda war against Pakistan and always blaming Pakistan and the ISI for everything that goes wrong in their country.

This is despite the fact that many of them have lived and still live in Pakistan. On the Internet I've encountered many Afghans who bad mouth Pakistan and speak lies against our country.
Many of them weather Pakhtun or Tajik are able to converse in fluent Urdu, obviously due to the fact that they have lived or still live in Pakistan.

When Pakistan accepted the first wave of Afghan refugees, with it Pakistan accepted a rise in crime rates committed by the refugees. Illegal arms and drug trade was also imported with the refugees.
Many jobs and businesses the refugees obtained was only monopolized by them as they hired as many of their own kind as they could instead of giving any opportunity to locals.

Even today Afghans walk into Pakistan to visit relatives as if it's their second country.
Yet all the time Pakistan gets blame for from these people for just about everything wrong in their country from corruption in their own government or drug trade.

Even in her book Empires of the Indus, author Alice Albina briefly mentions the bad mouthing Pakistan and it's ISI get from Afghans for just about any problem they face.
It seems clear in her book that even to some such as her, the Afghans have cried "wolf" too many times when there is no wolf in sight.

Even despite being the world's largest heroine producer and exporter, Afghanistan still seems to somehow hold Pakistan responsible for the drug trade.
Also despite the fact that under the then Pakistani backed Taliban most of the drug development in Afghanistan was close to extinction.

Today the descendants of many former Afghan refugees in Pakistan now living in Europe, North America and elsewhere spread the lies they learned from their parents on the Internet against Pakistan.

Accepting a new wave of Afghan immigrants would mean accepting an increase in our country's already uncontrolled population growth. It would mean having to face even more of an already increasing problem of illegal arms, drugs, crime and others that a new wave of refugees are likely to bring with them.

It could also mean planting the seeds of a new upcoming Afghan generation who will carry on the propaganda war against Pakistan just as their forefathers did.

Accepting a new wave of Afghan refugees is simply unthinkable. We made one deadly mistake in the past by accepting the first wave of ungrateful refugees who only gave us more problems in return. We should learn from our past mistake and not repeat the same mistake twice.

Instead, Pakistan should take immediate steps to remove all foreign refugees and seal the Pak-Afghan border in advanced preparation to prevent more refugees from coming.

A billboard inside Pakistan posted by Afghan immigrants calling for the integration Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan to become part of Afghanistan: (click on image to enlarge)