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Geneva Accord

The year 1988 was a turning point in the world politics. In this year a disastrous decade came to an end that caused much bloodshed and destruction in Afghanistan and threatened the security of Pakistan. Geneva Accord has a very significant role in changing the political scenario of the world. It is obvious that Pakistan’s international credibility boosted due to the Geneva accord and became an important mediator in the world affairs. Pakistan, Soviet Union, Afghanistan and USA were the participants of the Geneva accord in which Pakistan played a key role in settling the terms to resolve the Afghan issue. After the accord many changes took place in the relations of Pakistan with other participants.


In 1979, Soviet’s military intervened in its very neighbor Afghanistan in order to annex and make it a part of communist regime. After a short span, the task became very difficult for Soviet Union. The Afghan Mujahedeen with the support of Pakistan and international community gave a severe blow to Soviet cause. Soviet leadership realized the failure of expedition and deteriorated socio-economic conditions at domestic level compelled Soviet leadership to come out from the catastrophic situation. Thus a process of negotiation for settlement started in early 1981, under the UN auspicious. After the long-time negotiations and discussions the final agreement was signed at Geneva on April 14, 1988. In the Accord, a bilateral agreement was signed between Pakistan and Afghanistan for voluntarily returning of refuges under the guarantees signed by USA and Soviet Union. Timeframe was set up for withdrawal of soviet forces from Afghanistan that was nine month in which 50 percent forces had to withdraw within three months. Afghan resistance groups neither participate nor accepted the accord that exerted dire impact on Afghanistan after the withdrawal of Soviet forces.


The Accord witnessed a hallmark of Pakistan’s diplomacy and military strategy. It boosted Pakistan’s diplomatic standards in the world but it had obvious impact on Pakistan’s external and internal sphere. There was already friction between the Prime Minister Muhammad Khan Jonejo and President Zia-ul-Haq. But the signing of the Accord by the then foreign minister widened the friction because Zia took a hard position on establishing a pro-Pakistan government in Afghanistan based on resistance groups that was out of question for soviets. Finally making it pretext Zia dismissed an elected legitimate government that caused severe setback to new established democratic set up.


The spirit Geneva Accord was in an agreement between Afghanistan and Pakistan in which Soviet Union and USA were the guarantor of non-interference and non-intervention of each other’s internal affairs. After the soviet withdrew incompetent Najibullah could not handle the deteriorated situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan repeatedly asked for the establishment of legitimate and representative of people’s government. A process of civil war had been started between different ethnic groups and finally Najibullah government was ousted and new interim pro-Pakistani government was setup in Kabul. Pakistan stood and supported the mujahidin that caused the friction in Iran-Pakistan relations, because Iran did not want the power in the hands of Sunni mujahidin.


The Geneva Accord also solved the issue of security threats to Pakistan by the soviets, because during the Afghan war Soviet Union threatened Pakistan several times and warned that Pakistan was playing with fire due to its support to mujahidin. After a few months of Geneva Accord the accident of Zia’s plane is also considered a conspiracy of soviet’s that can be taken as or might be a part of US plan to get rid of Zia.  Moreover, US stopped all the assistance that was promised and given during the Afghan crisis for settlement of refugees. US sanctions made it difficult for Pakistan to bear the burden of refugees, although it is included in Geneva accord that 1.5 million refugees would return to Afghanistan. The chaos and civil war in Afghanistan did not provide the safe way of returning the refugees. The refugees created a lot of problem in Pakistan.


In 1991 the mighty Soviet empire suddenly disintegrated and as result six Muslim states emerged in Central Asia. Pakistan established friendly relations with these states, while Russia wanted to establish pro-Russian government in newly emerged states.  On the other hand Iran also wanted to inject her influence in the new states that caused hostility and antagonism between Iran and Pakistan.


To sum up, although the Geneva Accord was a victory of heroic Afghans along with a high watermark of Pakistan’s diplomacy and military strategy, but it left various repercussions to issue in the region. Aftermath of the Accord many vicissitudes took place in the relations of Pakistan with other countries. Diplomatically it was a successful effort in which for first time in the history of Soviet Union withdrew her forces from a country. Socially and economically the aftermath of Geneva Accord proved very hard and difficult for Pakistan.

About Ali Tariq

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