“The division of Pashtuns into two states remains an open wound, severely affecting economic growth and social development. Without a resolution to this question, the region will never rise to its potential as a land bridge between South Asia and Central Asia on the one hand, and the Middle east and China on the other,” the author says.
According to him, a permanent Afghan-Pakistan settlement would deliver profound political and economic benefits.
“It would reduce ethnic tensions and strengthen national unity in both states. It would resolve the fraught question of Pashtun citizenship rights. A new deal between Kabul and Islamabad could enable some Pashtuns in the borderlands to legitimately seek dual citizenship,” Sidiqque writes.
He says such measures would go a long way towards ending the historic isolation of some borderland communities.
“They would open a new horizon for Pashtuns and other ethnic groups, encouraging communicate and develop economic and cultural links in a spirit of cooperation,” he says.
Pashtuns are estimated to constitute nearly half of Afghanistan's population of 25.5 million. They are Pakistan's largest minority, making up about 15-20 per cent of the country's 174 million citizens in 2010.
The original Pashtun homeland was situated between the Hindu Kush mountains in central Afghanistan and the Indus River that bisects Pakistan, but Pashtun communities are now scattered over a vast territory.
Latest World News