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Post Pakistan-Afghanistan Border is a Settled Issue

Pakistan-Afghanistan Border is a Settled Issue


About twenty-three miles south of Pillar XII, which is erected on the Saricol range of Pamir, lies the beginning of the "North West Frontier". Pillar XII is located at latitude 37o20'5"N and longitude 74o24'50"E. It was erected by a joint Anglo-Russian Commission in September 1895, on the left bank of a tributary of the Tegermen-Su river, one mile from its mouth; and it is the last among pillars, which carry the Russo-Afghan frontier from the eastern end of Lake Victoria (Wood's Lake) to the Chinese frontier.

The protocol embodying the final agreement was signed on July 22, 1887 and is known as the Pamir Agreement. The demarcated boundary according to the 'The Pamir Agreement' remains unchanged to this day. This border was internationally recognized as the border between Russia (then Soviet Union) and Afghanistan. Today this boundary is the internationally recognized border between the Central Asian countries (former Soviet republics as successor independent states of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan) and Afghanistan.

The Afghan frontier turns west from Pillar XII and follows the northern ridge of the Sarikol Range bordering the Taghdumbash Pamir. It then curves southward over the Wakhjir Pass to join the present Pakistan-Afghan frontier, which is often referred to as the Durand line. While negotiating the Durand Line, Amir Abdul Rahman Khan of Afghanistan had received a British mission in a formal Durbar which was held in November 1893, in the Salam Khana Hall, where the civil and military officers of Kabul and chiefs of various tribes were present.

The Amir in his speech gave an outline to the audience of all the understanding which had been agreed upon and the provisions which had been signed, and urged upon them the necessity for adhering firmly to British alliance. He pointed out that the interests of Afghanistan and England were identical.

The Amir further told the audience that it was for the first time that Afghanistan had a definite frontier which would prevent future misunderstandings and would render Afghanistan strong and powerful after it had been consolidated with the aid in arms and ammunition which would be received from the British.

The demarcation of the Durand Line was carried out in fulfilment of the Anglo-Afghan agreement' of November 12, 1893 between Amir Abdul Rahman Khan of Afghanistan and Sir Henry Mortimer Durand, Foreign Secretary to the Government of India.

The demarcation of the Indo-Afghan frontier, as defined in the above mentioned agreement, was divided into sections and was carried out for the most part by the joint Anglo-Afghan Commission during the year 1894-1896. In 1947, the Indian sub-continent emerged as two independent dominions of India and Pakistan. West Pakistan by right of its location inherited the former North West Frontier of British India and the Indo-Afghan boundary established vide the agreement of 1893.

There are some circles who continue to spread disinformation that the agreement was signed under duress and has a validity of 100 years. Unfortunately, the propaganda emanates from a country in the neighbourhood of Pakistan. This country also instigates anti Pakistan elements in the Afghan government to issue controversial statements undermining Pak-Afghan relations. A host of websites of this country also disseminate anti Pakistan propaganda. It is therefore necessary to put the facts in the correct perspective as follows:

The International Border between Pakistan and Afghanistan is based on the map attached with the original Agreement of 1893.

Clause 6 of the Agreement clearly states that the agreement is regarded by both the parties as a full and satisfactory settlement of all the principal differences of opinion which have arisen between them. The Agreement has been reaffirmed by successive Afghan rulers.

1905 Treaty with Amir HabibullahKhan continuing the Agreements which had existed between the British Government and Amir Abdul Rahman Khan. Para 2 states "I also have acted, am acting and will act upon the same agreement and I will not contravene them in any dealing or in any promise."

Treaty of peace between the British Government and the Independent Afghan Government concluded at Rawalpindi on 8th August 1919. Article 5 states that "the Afghan Government accepts the Indo-Afghan frontier accepted by the Late Amir.

Friendly and Commercial Relations treaty between Great Britain and Afghanistan at Kabul on 22 November 1921. Article 2 of the treaty states that, "The two high contracting parties accept the Indo-Afghan frontier as accepted by the Afghan Government under Article V of the treaty concluded at Rawalpindi on 8th August 1919."

Notes were exchanged between His Majesty's Government and Afghan Minister in London, 1930 (His Highness General Shah Wali Khan to Mr. Arthur Henderson), Afghan Legation 6th May 1930. Both parties ~greed that it was their understanding that the Treaty of Kabul of 22 November 1921 continued to have full force and effect.

On 13 June 1948, Shah Wali Khan, the Afghan envoy to Pakistan declared, " Our King has already stated, and I, as the representative of Afghanistan, declare that Afghanistan has no claims on frontier territory and even if there were any, they have been given up in favour of Pakistan. Anything contrary to this which may have appeared in the press in the past or may appear in the future should not be given credence at all and should be considered just a canard."

The Pak-Afghan International Border has sound technical and legal background. According to international law, treaties of the extinct state concerning boundary lines remain valid and all rights and duties arising from such treaties of the extinct state devolve on the absorbing state. Pakistan is the successor state of British India. The following is worth mentioning:

A country to country treaty does not need any revision unless both parties desire change.

International Agreement once finally concluded can be revoked only bilaterally and not unilaterally.

Unless otherwise provided in the concluded treaty about its duration, the treaty becomes of a permanent nature. This is applicable to the 1893 Treaty Agreement.

International Law does not lay down the maximum life period of one hundred years for an internationally concluded border agreement between the two states, when fixed border validity has not been mentioned in its text.

It goes beyond doubt to say that the international border between Pakistan and Afghanistan is a settled matter and is globalfy accepted. It is supported by International Law and the treaty of 1893 has been ratified several times by successive Afghan governments.
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