ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office regretted on Wednesday that the Afghan government, instead of responding to Pakistani proposal for addressing the cause of recent border skirmishes, had resorted to allegations hurled through the media.
“It is highly regrettable that despite mutual agreement on utilising recognised channels of communication, Afghanistan has chosen to raise the issue through a media statement,” the FO said in a rejoinder to a statement issued by the Afghan Foreign Ministry on the cross-border firing incidents that took place on Sunday and Monday.
The clashes had erupted on Sunday when Afghan troops used force to stop construction of border post. Eleven Pakistanis, five civilians and six soldiers, were injured in the clashes.
The Afghan government had accused Pakistan of “violation of international laws” as well as an “explicit violation” of its “national sovereignty”.
The FO, in its response, said: “The Ministry would like to put the record straight that on 27 and 28 October 2019, Afghan military resorted to unprovoked mortar and heavy weapon firing on Pakistan military’s newly-established posts, which resulted into serious injuries to six Pakistan military soldiers.”
It underscored that despite the provocation, Pakistani troops exercised utmost restraint to avoid further escalation.
Pakistan military, the FO said, proposed to resolve the issue of newly-established posts through a border flag meeting, a joint survey of the area, and a local jirga involving Mashran (Afghan term for elders) from both sides.
The proposal was delivered to Afghanistan’s acting envoy in Islamabad on Afghan side’s insistence on routing it through diplomatic channels.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs handed over a Note Verbale to the Afghan Cd’A (a.i.) in Islamabad on 28 October 2019, proposing joint survey and local jirga. The Afghan side has not responded on the proposal as yet,” it added.
Published in Dawn, October 31st, 2019