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In a highly important development, China’s special envoy for Afghanistan affairs Yue Xiaoyong met with Pakistan’s foreign secretary Muhammad Syrus Sajjad Qazi in Beijing last Thursday. Their meeting gives birth to new hopes of a major breakthrough, so to speak.

China’s active engagement with Afghanistan is driven by latter’s strategic position at the crossroads of Central Asia and South Asia. A number of Chinese companies already operate in this landlocked country that can offer China a wealth of coveted mineral resources.

The meeting between China’s special envoy to Afghanistan and foreign secretary of Pakistan has taken place in the wake of the government of Pakistan’s warning to all undocumented foreigners to leave the country by October 31 2023.

No doubt, a vast majority of the foreigners without documents comprises the Afghan people. That is why there is growing nervousness among the rulers in Kabul about the prospect of return of a very large number of Afghan people to their homeland in coming weeks and months.

The Afghan government is ill-prepared to help rehabilitate them. Be that as it may, the China’s special envoy seems to have used his good offices to successfully persuade the interim government in Afghanistan to cooperate with Pakistan in the larger interest of peace and economic development in the region.

That the current rulers of Afghanistan have been providing the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants consistent support in the shape of safe havens and sustenance is a grim reality that the former has refused to accept for the sheer chagrin of Pakistan.

That the TTP is responsible for recent surge in the incidents of terrorism in Pakistan is no secret and it is said to be mulling stepping up attacks on Pakistan. China’s proactive engagement with Afghanistan is a good omen for Pakistan. China will surely help forestall TTP’s anti-Pakistan activities in a meaningful way.

Saadat Khan Mandokhel (Quetta)

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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