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PESHAWAR: Noted Afghan research scholars and writers have dispelled the impression that anti-Pakistan content is being taught in Afghanistan school textbooks and reaffirmed that no such stuff is ever included in syllabus at any level against neighbouring countries as Kabul wants to establish peaceful relations with the entire world.

The senior Afghan writers, who were recently in Peshawar for attending a Pashto literary conference at Bara Gali Summer Camp of University of Peshawar, spared some time and talked to this scribe on several issues.

Dispelling the impression that anti-Pakistan contents were being taught in Afghan schools, they said that no such stuff was part of the Afghan school curriculum. They said that Afghan textbooks were focused on peace, universal human values and good relations with neighbours.

“If Kabul and Islamabad encourage exchange of delegates comprising academicians and literati, such negative propaganda will soon sink and new ways will get a chance to creep in for further cementing mutual ties,” they said. Lal Bacha Azmoon, known Pashto writer and adviser to Afghan President Dr Ashraf Ghani on culture, said that school textbooks taught children love for land, indigenous culture, humanism and hate against war, not against any state.

Say no effort to create rift between people living on both sides of Durand Line will be successful

“Our textbooks should preach and teach peace, universal human values, interfaith harmony and respect for views of others towards a just and progressive society. Many of my colleagues and I have been in Pakistan for several decades, how we can encourage academicians to teach our children to grow up with hate against our immediate neighbours including Pakistan,” he said.

However, Mr Azmoon said that ‘history’ could not afford to hide facts for long. “Pakhtuns in Afghanistan and Pakistan both share the same issues and challenges brought in by world power players to their region. Our poets and writers promote peace and mutual love in their writings,” said Mr Azmoon.

Prof Asif Sameem, prominent scholar and adviser to culture minister in Kabul, said that no effort to create rift between people living across the Durand Line would be successful as Pakhtuns of Afghanistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, tribal districts and Balochistan had inseparable social, historical and cultural ties.

“No one can find even a single line in our books being taught at any level. At times sour relations between Kabul and Islamabad should not trickle down to our academic institutions,” he said.

Syed Mohiyuddin Hashmi, an expert on textbooks, said that Kabul had no such evil intention to include hate literature in school syllabus against its neighbours including Pakistan. “It is the responsibility of academicians to minimise animosity level and educate even state organs to encourage people-to-people contact for durable political stability, developing trade, communication and strengthening cultural ties. Teaching of hatred serves no purpose,” he added.

Habibullah Rafi, another senior Afghan scholar, said that academicians and literati were never in the habit of fanning hate against Pakistan. “Yes at political level as per volatile situation between Kabul and Islamabad, exhibition of harsh and unfriendly attitude though unfortunate is a fact but making it part of school textbooks has never been in the imagination of our academics. Books should only teach peaceful coexistence with neighbours,” he added.

Mr Rafi said that sometime back a report was circulated in Afghan media that Pakistani books were taught in a school in Paktia province but later it was proved to be wrong. He said that such fake news were part of the negative propaganda meant to create doubts in the minds of people. “Peace in Pakistan is linked to peace in Afghanistan,” he added.

Published in Dawn, August 13th, 2018