The Baloch Yakjehti Committee held a seminar in the provincial capital Quetta on Thursday to discuss the ongoing situation in Afghanistan and its effects on Balochistan. Activists, intellectuals, academics and prominent political figures participated in the seminar and addressed the gathering, each detailing a separate aspect of the conflict and its ramifications in Balochistan. Activist Mahrang Baloch, BNP’s Haji Lashkari Raisani, Advocate Sajid Tareen and PhD candidate Saifullah Nasir were in attendance.
The seminar began by observing a two-minute-long silence to express solidarity with the victims of the ongoing Taliban offensive in Afghanistan.
Addressing the gathering, the speakers said that Afghanistan has become the battlefield of global powers. Afghanistan is going through a humanitarian crisis and the civilians are fed up with the protracted conflict. They said that the conflict has only benefited the “imperialists” who have made lucrative gains from it – the Afghan civilians have only sustained casualties and material damages. They said that the Baloch and the Pashtun must stand with their Afghan brothers because history has repeatedly shown that a volatile Afghanistan inevitably affects the peace and stability of Balochistan.
The speakers said that the times have changed; it is no longer possible for the Taliban to topple the Afghan government and establish themselves at the helm. The Taliban were fighting a guerrilla war and the Afghan government was giving a restrained response – they might now adopt an aggressive approach towards their adversary. They said that there will be intense fighting when the Taliban try to capture Afghanistan’s capital Kabul.
BNP-Mengal’s Haji Lashkari Raisani addressed the gathering and commended the efforts of the Baloch Yakjehti Committee in bringing together a gathering of academics and intellectuals to discuss the ongoing situation in Afghanistan. He said that this debate must not die down as the ongoing situation can potentially lead to an intense conflict that might spill over to Balochistan.
He opined that the political parties of Pakistan must call together a similar conference to discuss the ramifications of the conflict in Afghanistan and devise strategies to counter the potential damage. But unfortunately, the National Security Council called for this purpose only briefed the establishment on the situation without proposing any viable strategy to counteract the conflict if it spills over the border. “Events like those show how cavalier the ruling elite is about the situation”, Raisani said.
Speaking at the seminar, Advocate Sajid Tareen said that Pashtun and the Baloch must unite on a common front to counter the situation as they did after the death of Karima Baloch and Usman Kakar.
Addressing the geopolitical aspect of the conflict, the speakers said that the United States is ostensibly withdrawing from Afghanistan. But is highly unlikely that America will abandon its interest in the region and move on. They said that due to its Belt and Road Initiative, China is also a key stakeholder in the region. By completely pulling out of Afghanistan, the United States is creating an uncertainly in Afghanistan that will inevitably morph into a terrible bloodbath, they said.
They said that some people argue that Pakistan is slowly abandoning the United States and gravitating towards China, but that is not completely true. Pakistan’s interests are inextricably tied with America, and under no circumstances will Pakistan sever this relationship.
The speakers said that the war in Afghanistan will create a massive refugee crisis and Afghan civilians will come to Balochistan en masse to live and survive. They said that this has happened in the past and it will happen again.