Forget Indian aid to Afghanistan for a minute. Have you heard about Allama Iqbal Faculty at Kabul University? Sir Syed Science Faculty Block at Nangarhar University? Liaqat Ali Khan Engineering Faculty at Balkh University in Mazar-e-Sharif? Rehman Baba High School in Kabul? And the sprawling ten-tower Jinnah Hospital Complex in Kabul and the Nishtar Kidney Hospital in Jalalabad?
Welcome to Pakistan's impressive -- and little known -- contribution to rebuilding Afghanistan in the past eight years. Add to this 500,000 Afghans who study in Pakistani schools, 28000 Afghan graduates from Pakistani colleges in 30 years, and three million Afghans who continue to live with us as our brothers and guests, add all of this and Pakistan easily beats India's one billion dollars in aid. The Indians and their backers in the Am-Brit media have frequently referred to the Indian aid to underline why India should continue meddling in Afghanistan at Pakistan's expense. It is interesting how very few American writers have acknowledged the Pakistani contribution.
One reason for this is Pakistan's weak public diplomacy skills. Most Pakistanis don't know about this, let alone Afghans and the international media. Pakistanis wouldn't have discovered what different departments of the Pakistani government have been doing in Afghanistan if not for Pakistan's dynamic young Ambassador in Kabul Mr. Mohammad Sadiq.
On March 23, 2010, Pakistan Day celebrations in Kabul, Ambassador Sadiq wrote an op-ed that was published in English- and Dari-language newspapers where he listed the Pakistani contribution to rebuilding Afghanistan.
I am thankful to Mr. Mohammad Sadiq for sending me a revised version of the piece, and for opening our eyes for the first time to Pakistan's rebuilding effort in Afghanistan. I wonder what our sprawling Federal Information Ministry, the state-run APP news agency, the state-run PTV and the military's ISPR have been doing all these years hiding this information from Pakistanis and the rest of the world and leaving the field open to the Indians and their Am-Brit backers to spread disinformation.