In what seems to be confidence building measures, Pakistan will spend a hefty amount worth half billion dollar in various sectors in the war-torn Afghanistan, revealed documents available with Pakistan Today.
According to the documents, the amount would be spent on various sectors in Afghanistan including health, education and infrastructure development.
The documents revealed that Pakistan was funding a 400-bed Jinnah Hospital in Kabul, Nishtar Kidney Centre, Jalalabad, 200-bed Naeb Aminullah Khan Hospital, Logar, besides giving 45 ambulances to the government of Afghanistan.
In addition to that, Pakistan has funded various educational institutions in Afghanistan including Allama Iqbal Faculty of Arts, Kabul University, Sir Syed Post Graduate Faculty of Sciences, Nangarhar University, Liaqat Ali Khan Engineering University, Bulkh, Rahman Baba School, Kabul and Rahman Baba Hostel, Kabul.
Pakistan offered as many as 3,000 fully-funded scholarships for higher education for Afghan students, it added.
Around 35,000 Afghans have already done their graduation and masters from Pakistan during the last three decades, while about 500,000 refugee students are enrolled in various schools in Pakistan.
Documents reveal that Pakistan has helped built 75 kilometres Torkham- Jalalabad Road, additional carriage way on Torkham- Jalalabad Road, three internal roads in Jalalabad, digital radio link between Kabul and Peshawar.
Around 100 public transport buses and 200 trucks have also been given to the government of Afghanistan, the documents added.
Pakistan has held a week-long free eye camp in Jalalabad, the capital of eastern Nangarhar province, and treated 4,818 patients, performed 357 eye surgeries and distributed 4,126 eye glasses.
Zabit Khan, an Afghan student at International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI), while talking to Pakistan Today, termed Pakistan’s investment in Afghanistan as a welcoming sign and added that it would help strengthen the ties between the two brotherly neighboring countries.
He said that Afghanis were always treated in Pakistan with great respect and thousands of Afghan students in Pakistan are getting advance education in various disciplines.
Sabir Shanwari, another Afghan student, said that hundreds of Afghan students are studying in IIUI in different faculties, which speaks volume of the brotherly ties between the two countries.
He said that apart from education, Pakistan is investing heavily in building roads and infrastructure in Afghanistan, which is a praiseworthy move.
Gulzada, an Afghan businessman in Islamabad, said the relations between the two countries have seen ups and down, but both the countries continued to stand side by side in testing times.
“The government of Pakistan should increase seats for Afghan students especially in indiscipline of medical and engineering,” he maintained.
Rehmat Mehsud, a senior journalist and expert of Afghanistan affairs, told Pakistan Today that Pakistan and Afghanistan need to overcome their differences with mutual consensus otherwise third force will get the chance to exploit the situation.
He said that Kabul and Islamabad need to demonstrate greater maturity in interest of the next generation. A senior official at the ministry of planning, development and reforms, wishing not to be named, told Pakistan Today that Pakistan is making all-out efforts to build Afghanistan’s infrastructure despite scarcity of funds.
He said that Pakistan could not afford instability in Afghanistan, because peace and turmoil in both the countries are interlinked.
He further said that in order to check the growing Indian influence in Afghanistan, Pakistan has no option but to play proactive role in developing the damaged infrastructure of the country.