The present border between Pakistan and Afghanistan – Durand Line was officially demarcated on November 12, 1893 between Amir Abdur Rehman, the Amir of Afghanistan and the government of the British India. It was named after the name of Sir Henry Mortimer Durand Foreign Secretary to the Government of India who is considered as the architect of this demarcation process. The length of the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan is about 2200 km but its demarcation has remained a controversial issue, which both sides have their respective stands on it. The Afghans do not accept it as permanent border agreement as they argue that it divided the Pushtoon ethnographically into two parts.
Before the creation of the Pakistan, the British government and Amirs of Afghanistan on different occasions whenever the issue was raised solved it by reaffirming the same treaty. . Their contention that Pushtoons are living on the both sides of the Durand line and that ethnically, linguistically, geographically and historically they are part of Afghan culture and state proves wrong when we go through the agreement. One of the articles of the treaty declares: “The British government of India will at no time exercise interference in the territories lying beyond this line on the side of India and the Amir of Afghanistan will at no time exercise interference on that side of Durand line”. It clearly indicated allowing no interference from both sides. The Afghan claim can be summarized into three categories: Historically all the areas inhabiting Pushtoon were under Afghan rulers, legally this territory was signed under pressure from the British government and ethnically, Pushtoon on both sides of the border form a single unit.
On the other hand, Pakistan declares the agreement as valid simply because International border agreement was accepted by both sides. Secondly, Pakistan as sovereign state has all the rights over the areas under her jurisdiction because Pakistan as Successor State of the British empire inherited all the treaties and agreement entered into by the British and Afghan governments. Thirdly, Durand Line Agreement was and is still valid international border agreement for there is no evidence or any provision available in the original document to show for how long the agreement will be valid. So its validity strengthens the position of Pakistan.
This article was last updated on Wednesday, Jan 04, 2006