When Sartaj Aziz, the Prime Minister’s advisor on Foreign Affairs and National Security spoke on Wednesday about better ties with our neighbours, and specifically Afghanistan, he admitted it was going to be a real challenge.
To be precise, he pinpointed that the “external interference” in Afghanistan had to come to an end, especially in the wake of the political and security transitions the region was undergoing.
He spoke of the rising challenge of narcotics, trafficking and insurgencies, stressing better relations and coordination with the country were necessary for peace.
The following day, on Thursday, DG ISPR Asim Bajwa claimed in a press conference that the military was close to the capture of Mullah Fazlullah, and was in cosy discussions with the Afghan leadership about his arrest and handover.
According to him, efforts to wipe out extremism were smooth and coordinated between the two countries.
The question is, are both these men speaking of the same Afghanistan?
It is important to understand that the Pak-Afghan relationship is a complex one.
The Afghans have consistently accused Pakistan of providing a safe haven to terrorists responsible for violence in Afghanistan.
There has been an ongoing war of words between diplomats and the top leadership of the two countries.
Sartaz Aziz is correct in pointing out the very real challenges the two countries face in their relations with one another, and in the face of this reality, a healthy dose of skepticism is required when analysing the military’s statements.
In the wake of the Peshawar attack, Mullah Fazlullah, the mastermind behind the school carnage, is the man everybody wants.
Let us be clear however, that the Afghans will not just hand him over as a token of good faith.
Keeping in mind recent history and the security transition Afghanistan is undergoing, it might be a long while yet, before Mullah Fazlullah is arrested and held to account.
Do hope, but cautiously