Fawad Ali Noori is a final year student of Bachelor’s in International Relations at International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) and also designated as a Pak-Afghan Youth Ambassador by the Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS), Islamabad, since May 18, 2017.
My name is Fawad Ali Noori and I belong to Behsud district of Maidan Wardak province of Afghanistan. In 1996, we had to leave Afghanistan when the Taliban invaded Kabul. It was a very difficult time for Hazara people to live under the rule of Taliban as hatred was on peak due to ethnic clashes in the civil war. Although I was a very young kid during the time, I still remember some of those terrible childhood memories.
Soon we migrated directly to Islamabad where my aunt was already living. Life was very hard at first and we usually faced crackdowns by Islamabad Police which were targeted at the Afghans who were without passports. Due to our financial problems, I used to sell shopping bags in the weekly bazaars to support my family. I could not join school after arriving in Pakistan due to the high cost of educational expenditure. I was not the only person facing this problem as a huge number of Afghan refugees were in the same or even worst condition. However, somehow, my family managed after some time to arrange the education expenses of only one person and they chose me as I was the youngest in the family. Today, I am the only educated person of the family.
Time flew by and, by 2008, I finished my schooling from an Afghan school in Islamabad named Estiqlal High School. Again, I had to face a gap of nearly 7 years in my education due to issues in the academic documentation process as well as other family problems. Finally in 2014, I got admission in Bachelor’s in International Relations at the International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) which, though, was against my interest as throughout my childhood I had dreamt of becoming a doctor. It is said that a doctor cures only one person but a social scientist has the ability to cure the whole society. Hence, I think I was brought to this field to serve my country and work for good relations between regional and other countries. I am now in the 7th semester of BS-IR and a proud scholar of the DAFI programme (The Albert Einstein German Academic Refugee Initiative).
During this journey of over two decades, living in Pakistan has been a great experience. I learned many good things from Pakistani people and hope they may have learned from Afghans too. It has only been recently that the relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have changed due to false narratives spread by the media, which, I believe, plays a very negative role in their bilateral relations.
My message to both the nations is that one bad guy or institution does not represent the whole country. At the end, it is the poor and the middle classes (who constitute a great percentage of the population) that suffer from the decisions of the limited few in authority. We must try to find out the root causes of the mistrust and misunderstandings between the two countries. It is only bilateral talks that can give results; not the ongoing blame-game. The time has come for both sides to cooperate and stop dictating each other in choosing their friends and partners.
At the end, it is really important to mention that Pakistan must increase the influence of her soft power in Afghanistan and benefit the poor class as it is the elite that usually misuse the innocence of the poor in protests and in harvesting the seeds of hatred.
“Long live peace and brotherhood!”
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.