RAWALPINDI: President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s unscheduled, dramatic five-hour visit today [Jan 11] to the Afghan capital for talks with King Zahir Shah came as a complete surprise to most people. Informed diplomatic circles here, however, believed that it was in the context of the Pakistan Government’s present efforts to evolve a more realistic approach to developments in the region, particularly those which are considered to have assumed special importance in view of the recent happenings in the subcontinent.

In this regard … Pakistan is no longer averse to the idea that she should cooperate in the possible arrangement for allowing easy flow of traffic on the Asian Highway and open her borders with Afghanistan and India for the purpose.

The idea was a couple of years ago linked with the Russian proposal for Asian Security arrangements. Pakistan has no special problems with Afghanistan and during the recent India-Pakistan war, the Afghan Government’s attitude toward the situation was considered here to be very reasonable.

However, in a message congratulating Mr Bhutto on his assumption of office in Pakistan, Kabul is again learnt to have referred, for obvious reasons, to the question of Pakhtoonistan.

Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2022

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