ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has not handed over the Angoor Adda checkpost to Afghanistan, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry said on Monday, snubbing earlier claims made by the army. The army had earlier announced that the checkpost had been handed over to the Afghan authorities.
Briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Defence and Foreign Affairs, he said Pakistan Army only constructed a gate for the Kabul government in Afghan area of the checkpost "as a gift".
On Sunday, Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz told DawnNews that the check post was not given to the Afghan authorities.
"It is an old checkpost which was constructed during Taliban era when the border control was not that stringent. The checkpost was on Pakistani soil while the gate was in Afghan territory, they (Afghan authorities) were protesting for years, so we handed over the gate to them," said Aziz.
It is pertinent to note that last month Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) chief Lt Gen Asim Bajwa had informed through Twitter that "Pakistan army has handed over a purpose-built border crossing facility at Angoor Ada to Afghan authorities".
“With aim to strengthen brotherly relations with Afghanistan besides strategic intent to improve border management, the border-crossing facility was handed over to Afghan authorities at Angoor Ada, a buffering town,” Asim Bajwa had tweeted.
On June 07, a petition was filed in the Lahore High Court (LHC) against the move in which the petitioner maintained was an offence under Section 24 of the Pakistan Army Act (PAA) 1952 which states that delivering any garrison, fortress, airfield, place, post or guard is punishable under PAA.
In his petition, former assistant judge advocate general retired Lt-Col Inamur Rahim requested for the initiation of proceedings against those senior officers who had allowed transferring the control of the said checkpost.
More than five-decade-old border crossing facility at Angoor Adda, 35km off South Waziristan’s regional headquarters of Wana, has been a bone of contention between the two countries ever since it was built nearly a year ago. The gate was manned by Pakistan Army personnel until recently.
In July last year, the issue had led to an exchange of fire between the two sides, resulting in the death of an Afghan police border guard and injuries to two Pakistani soldiers. The Afghan government had summoned Pakistan’s envoy to lodge a protest over the incident.