PESHAWAR: Eliminating mistrust between Pakistan and Afghanistan is imperative for the welfare of both nations. This was the general view shared by an 11-member delegation of journalists from Afghanistan visiting Peshawar. They completed their three-day tour of the city during which they met fellow media personnel and politicians.
This was the fourth exchange programme between Pakistani and Afghan journalists from various print and electronic media organisations. The programme was a collaborative effort between Equal Access and the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ). The team reached Islamabad on October 4 and will return to Kabul on October 13 after visiting other cities in Pakistan.
During their three days in Peshawar, Afghan journalists visited the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly and observed the session for a brief period.
Before departing for Islamabad Wednesday morning, they had a brief sitting with local journalists and shared the outcomes of
their discussions with local media personnel and sociopolitical circles.
One of the Afghan journalists, Rukhsar Azamee, said, “Unfortunately, most people are focusing on mistrust [between Pakistan and Afghanistan], which is not in the interests of either country.” She was referring to certain points of view held by politicians and the media.
“We are here for a purpose – to help resolve tensions between the two countries and strengthen bilateral ties,” Azamee continued. “Afghanistan and Pakistan are not only two neighbouring countries but even their people are linked with each other. Whatever relations might be at the official level, it is impossible to maintain a distance.”
She said it was the responsibility of the media, public opinion makers and intellectuals to help each other strengthening ties. “When the people understand each other, the rulers will have no choice but to bow their heads according to the wishes of the public,” she remarked.
Another journalist, Pakhtana Arabzai, spoke about the presence of India and Pakistan in Afghanistan. She said both countries had an equal number of diplomatic offices. However, Arabzai confirmed India’s presence was more visible due to its involvement in development projects.
PFUJ Assistant General Secretary Ziaul Haq, accompanying the Afghan delegates, said the trip was extremely satisfactory. “During meetings and discussions, the Afghan journalists clarified a number of queries that had been on the minds of local politicians and media.” He said the delegates would visit Lahore for their last leg and ultimately meet fellow journalists in Islamabad.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 8th, 2015.