Pakistan and Afghanistan share a long border, historical, cultural, religious, and demographic bonds.
Despite long frosty relations at political level, people to people contact between the two had always surpassed the political differences which were further enhanced by Pakistan’s efforts to reach out to common Afghan masses.
Pakistan continues to play its role in not only bringing peace to Afghanistan but also in other fields including health and education.
Education is one key area where Pakistan has been putting a lot of efforts to educate Afghan youth not only residing here as refugees but also providing quota in educational institutes to Afghanistan based youth.
Pakistan has announced a number of scholarships for the Afghan students of which one such is provision of scholarship to 1,000 students every year in different universities to Pakistan under Higher Education Commission (HEC).
This year over 16,000 Afghan students had applied for scholarships. The candidates were screened in collaboration with the Pakistani Embassy in Kabul.
Out of the successful candidates, 50 students have been selected for PhD program, 150 for Masters and 800 students for undergraduate program.
The Scholarship Program for Afghan Students was launched in 2009. So far, 4,500 students have graduated from various Pakistani universities under this program.
In a statement HEC said that the programme is part of bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan along with international community’s efforts at political level.
Apart from regular students, those Afghans working in various government departments and ministries of Afghanistan are also illegible to apply for the scholarship to continue their higher studies.
Welcoming Pakistan’s efforts for promotion of education in Afghanistan, Tahir Khan a senior journalist who is expert on Pak-Afghan affairs told VoKP that such programmes are help create environment for peace and trust building.
Tahir Khan termed these steps by Pakistan, catalyst for creating education friendly environment for Afghanistan and bringing world applause for Pakistan.
In his comments over such exchange between both the countries Hamid Talash Ibrahimi a senior Afghan educationist told VoKP that both the countries should maintain such student exchange programmes as confidence building measures.
He stated that the common people of Afghanistan have very positive feelings for the people of Pakistan but the external enemies through their propaganda have created uncertainties among the mases of both the nations.
He concluded that Afghanistan will remember Pakistan’s support to Afghan students & provision of free education in top universities because those graduated from Pakistani universities have been playing an instrumental role in educating Afghanistan.