Kabul attack: FO rejects Afghan allegations against Pakistan

Published June 2, 2017
KABUL: Young men and women on Thursday hold a candle-lit vigil for the victims of the bombing that claimed at least 90 lives the previous day.—Reuters
KABUL: Young men and women on Thursday hold a candle-lit vigil for the victims of the bombing that claimed at least 90 lives the previous day.—Reuters

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Thursday asked the Afghan government to stop blaming Pakistan for its own failings as it trashed Kabul’s allegations about a Pakistani spy agency’s involvement in Wednesday’s terrorist attack in the capital city’s diplomatic neighbourhood as baseless.

“The onus of setbacks and failures in Afghanistan should not be blamed on Pakistan. Mere rhetoric of blaming others to hide their failures in Afghanistan will not solve the problem,” FO spokesman Nafees Zakaria said at the weekly media briefing.

He was responding to allegations made against Pakistan’s ISI soon after the massive attack in Kabul that left at least 90 dead and hundreds wounded.

Spokesman says Jadhav case is about whether he’s entitled to consular access and not if ICJ can act as a court of appeal

He warned that Kabul’s “accusatory approach” would prove unhelpful for peace.

The National Directorate of Security (NDS), the Afghan spy outfit, had in a statement claimed that the Haqqani network, which is alleged to be having sanctuaries in Pakistan, carried out the attack. The NDS statement had further alleged that Pakistani intelligence agency ISI helped the Haqqani network plan the attack.

Following the NDS accusation, the Afghan Cricket Board cancelled upcoming matches with Pakistan. “By killing innocent and destitute people today, the enemies of Afghanistan’s peace and stability showed that they are not worthy of friendship and will not change their stance against Afghans. In light of the findings of security services and calls by the Afghan nation, the ACB hereby cancel all kinds of cricket matches agreement with the Pakistan Cricket Board,” a statement on the cricket board’s Facebook page said.

Afghan allegations against Pakistan are not new and are often repeated after high-profile attacks. Pakistan has, meanwhile, dismissed all such allegations in the past as well.

Pakistan government had condemned the latest attack in Kabul and condoled with the Afghan government over the loss of lives in the strike. “Pakistan strongly condemns the terrorist attack in Kabul this morning that has caused loss of precious human lives and injuries to many. Pakistan being a victim of terrorism understands the pain and agony that such incidents inflict upon the people and society,” the FO said yesterday.

Mr Zakaria regretted that the allegations against Pakistan were motivated.

“It is disappointing that some elements, who have no interest in peace in Afghanistan and want to damage Afghan-Pakistan relations, have been maligning Pakistan for their own agenda,” he maintained while reminding about Pakistan’s high stakes in peace and stability in Afghanistan.

The spokesman recalled that there were elements within Afghanistan, who were ‘inimical’ to Pak-Afghan relations. He further pointed out that continued violence in Afghanistan and the resulting vacuum had given space to forces that did not want peace in that country.

Reminding that the situation in Afghanistan was because of internal factors, he underscored that a lasting peace in the war-torn country could only be achieved through a politically-negotiated settlement.

About convicted Indian spy Kulbhushan Jhadav’s case in the International Court of Justice, the spokesman looked confident that the court verdict would not affect his conviction or sentencing.

“In three previous cases in the ICJ the request for release or acquittal was not granted by the court. The court stated that it does not have the power to make such orders,” he said while citing precedents.

He said the Jadhav case was about whether Commander Jadhav was entitled to consular access because of the 1963 VCCR and not if the ICJ can act as a court of appeal against Pakistani legal proceedings.

Responding to a question, Mr Zakaria said India was exploiting “vulnerable elements” in Pakistan to carry out terrorist acts.

Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2017

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