Ayaz is an Afghan student enrolled in Bachelors in Pharmacy at Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.
My name is Ayaz. I belong to Surobi District of Kabul province in Afghanistan. Our family migrated to Pakistan at the time of Soviet invasion in Afghanistan. Since then we are living as refugees in Pakistan. I was born in Kohat, which is a district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. I received my basic education till matriculation from Iqra Public School, Kohat. I moved to Edwards College Peshawar for Higher Secondary School Certificate. I am now a student of Pharmacy in the 6th Semester at Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.
My other siblings could not get proper education somehow due to their lack of interest but partly also owing to financial problems. I was, however, always interested in going to school. I faced many hardships in this regard but I continued my education regardless.
Many people in Pakistan cooperated with me in pursuing my education, especially my school’s Principal and my friends in Kohat and Peshawar. To finance my education, I worked in people’s houses as a helper, as a laborer and even in a vegetable market and other places. My school’s principal Sir Haroon-ur-Rasheed helped me immensely in acquiring my university education and is in fact helping me to this very day.
My Afghan friends are also interested in attaining education and the Pakistani people are cooperating with them in this regard. I believe education is extremely crucial as it is the only tool which can change the destiny of our people. Some of our Afghan people are going through a lot of adversities living in camps. Not being in one’s own country subjects one to many problems. So I guess education is the key in this regard. If our people get educated and inspire more Afghans, this can make a difference. Education is instrumental in bringing peace to both Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is illiteracy, in my opinion, that is the root cause of numerous social problems, whether in Afghanistan or Pakistan, and which leads to social tensions deteriorating even state to state relations.
In terms of my education in Pakistan, I did not face any obstacles in the admission process. In fact, I got admission on merit each time at different stages of my education. In addition, I made many friends during my academic journey in Pakistan.
While I never got a chance to live in Afghanistan except for one or two briefs visits, my elders, parents and other family members tell me stories about Afghanistan. I believe one’s country is one’s identity. And I miss Afghanistan for that. In Pakistan while Pakistani citizens can move freely, buy properties, do anything they want, we, due to our refugee status, do not have such privileges.
Nevertheless, I don’t see any difference between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Whatever people may say, to me both are the same reality. If our bilateral relations improve, it will not only be good for only Afghanistan or Pakistan, but for the people of both nations simultaneously and will pave the way towards prosperity. Both share a very long border (about 2600 km) which makes their stakes common. With better relations we can move forward, otherwise we won’t be able to, in my opinion.
My message to both the nations will be to see each other with love. We have many things in common such as culture, religion and many other. So my message would be educate yourselves. You would know many things if you become educated. As far as I have observed the people who are illiterate, their understanding about everything is very narrow and their living standard too is not up to the level as it should be. I believe there’s no progression without education.
I am very thankful to Afghan Studies Center (ASC) [an initiative of Center for Research and Security Studies, Islamabad (CRSS)] for inviting me and giving me the opportunity to express my feelings and to share my story. I have a suggestion (for ASC). If the ASC can arrange seminars for awareness and devise an internship program for the Afghan refugees in Pakistan, it would be very helpful.
So, this was my story of my experience in Pakistan and my views on Pakistan and Afghanistan’s relations. I want my other Afghan friends to come forward too and be provided the opportunity to share their feelings. In this manner, people will get to know about our needs and how we can progress towards betterment.
Allah pa Amaan (Good Bye)!
About Afghan Studies Center: The Afghan Studies Center is an initiative by the Center for Research and Security Studies, Islamabad – an independent and non-profit think tank and advocacy center. One of the primary objectives of the Afghan Studies Center is to serve as a bridge between the youth of Pakistan and Afghanistan to interact with each other and join hands to become leaders of change and messengers of peace and cooperation beyond boundaries. To achieve this objective, the Afghan Studies Center invites young Afghans to share their story using our platform with the youth of Pakistan as well as the world.