Durand Line: A British Colonial legacy still haunts Afghanistan, Pakistan

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Durand Line: A British Colonial legacy still haunts Afghanistan, Pakistan

New Delhi: The Durand Line is the de facto border between Afghanistan and Pakistan that was unilaterally carved out by the British in 1883. Mortimer Durand, the British Diplomat largely accountable for the Durand Line, created the unreal demarcation with none regard for geography, topography, inhabitants composition of the area or another components which are thought of when creating borders. 

The British regime on the time fully ignored historic perspective, or the need of the native individuals and based mostly the Durand Line solely on its geopolitical agenda. Consequently, they divided a largely Pashtun dominated area between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Households, kin and villages that resided in the identical area had been now out of the blue separated by an arbitrarily drawn “border” which has been dubbed the ‘line of hatred’, a merciless trick performed on the Pashtun individuals.

The Durand Line has been a problem that has sown mistrust between Afghanistan and Pakistan since 1948 and can be a attainable flashpoint between Pakistan and the Taliban (that now management Afghanistan). 

Afghanistan considers the Pashtun dominated space managed by Pakistan to belong to Afghanistan. It has repeatedly reiterated that the settlement that was signed in 1883 is legally void and subsequently Pakistan has no claims over the disputed territories. 

No Afghan chief has even acknowledged the Durand Line and this sentiment can be shared by the Pashtun’s dwelling on Pakistan’s aspect of the Durand Line as through the years a motion has emerged by the Pashtu individuals calling for integration with Afghanistan however this motion has repeatedly been crushed by the Pakistani authorities, most of the time via using power.

Whereas the Pashtun’s dwelling on each side of the border and the Afghan authorities have argued the legitimacy of the Durand Line, the Pakistan authorities has repeated its claims that the Durand Line is a reputable border. The Pakistani authorities claims that Pakistan has legally inherited the border from British India and views the problem of the Durand Line as an existential risk to Pakistan’s territorial integrity. 

The Pakistani authorities feels that Kabul’s open coverage concerning the Durant Line is a transparent indication that Afghanistan harbours ambitions of influencing or controlling the Pashtun-speaking components of Pakistan.

Pakistan’s fears concerning this concern are additional compounded by its historical past, notably the expertise of shedding what’s now Bangladesh to Bengali talking nationalists that the Pakistan authorities had oppressed (the identical oppression that’s now being meted out to the Pashtuns).

This concern held by the Pakistani authorities causes it to make use of brutal power towards the Pashtun people who wish to combine with Afghanistan. This has additionally led the Pakistani authorities to erect fences/border installations all alongside the Durand Line to legitimize the de-facto border.

Through the Taliban’s temporary rule over Afghanistan, the Pakistani navy and authorities that was the Taliban’s principal monetary, navy, and diplomatic patron believed that the Taliban would acknowledge the Durand Line and curb Pashtun nationalism. However the actuality turned out to be totally different. Not solely did the Taliban not acknowledge the Durand Line, they even fostered Pashtun nationalism. 

With the Taliban taking up Afghanistan after the US withdrawal, Islamabad as soon as once more hoped that the Taliban would acknowledge the Durand Line however even the Taliban have refused to legitimize it. And the latest fencing actions by Pakistan has led to the uproar with the Taliban issuing a stern warning to Islamabad that it’s going to not enable any extra fencing alongside the Durand Line. 

Clashes between the Taliban and the Pakistani forces in hamlets corresponding to Ganjgaal, Sarkano and Kunar – within the Bajaur space have already proven that the Taliban’s warning is to not be taken flippantly. 

As per Pakistani media, the Pakistani authorities has already constructed fences alongside 90% of the Durand Line and claims that the installations are a necessity to forestall the motion of terrorists, however in line with Toronto-based suppose tank, Worldwide Discussion board For Rights And Safety (IFFRAS) the actual motive for the border fence is in order that Pakistan can divide the Pashtun individuals and proceed to oppress and exploit them.

The Durant Line which has lengthy been a degree of rivalry for Pakistan and Afghanistan for years has been studied by a number of distinguished students and researchers and a big part of them consider the Durant Line to be invalid. 

The treaty was signed between the Amir of Afghanistan and the then colonial British Administration. It was not ratified by the legislative physique of both aspect and as such is legally void.

As well as, the treaty was signed by the Amir underneath duress and imposed by the British Empire. As per the Vienna Conference on the Legislation of Treaties, any treaty that’s procured by risk shall be deemed null and void. The Vienna Conference additionally states that any treaty that was signed with assistance from bribery or corruption is invalid.

Afghanistan has typically claimed the Durant Line to be morally unjustifiable as a result of the Durant Line marginalized the Pashtuns in Pakistan.

Afghanistan has additionally cited the Clear Slate Doctrine within the Vienna Conference, which says that unbiased states don’t “mechanically inherit treaty obligations”, to say that the creation of Pakistan in 1947 mechanically led to the abrogation of all previous treaties signed between Afghanistan and British India.

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