Pakistan calls its ambassador from Afghanistan for consultations after 'abduction' episode

Published July 19, 2021
Pakistan's ambassador to Kabul Mansoor Ahmad Khan arrived in Islamabad on Sunday evening. — AFP/File
Pakistan's ambassador to Kabul Mansoor Ahmad Khan arrived in Islamabad on Sunday evening. — AFP/File

The government has called back the Pakistani ambassador to Afghanistan for "consultations" regarding the alleged abduction and release of the Afghan envoy’s daughter in Islamabad, the Foreign Office said on Monday.

According to the FO, Pakistan's ambassador to Kabul Mansoor Ahmad Khan arrived in Islamabad on Sunday evening.

He is scheduled to meet the foreign secretary at the FO to discuss the matter. Discussions will also be held on the progress on the now-postponed Afghan Peace Conference.

The development comes as Afghanistan on Sunday called back its ambassador and senior diplomats from Pakistan over the alleged abduction of the Afghan envoy’s daughter.

Pakistan termed the Afghan government’s decision "unfortunate", "regrettable" and "disappointing", with Foreign Minister Shah Mah­mood Qureshi expressing the hope that the Afghan authorities would review their stance as Pakistan had assured the ambassador of full cooperation in the investigation.

Ambassador Najibullah Alikhil’s daughter, Silsila, was reportedly abducted on Friday from Islamabad’s commercial area by unidentified persons who also allegedly subjected her to torture.

According to her, she was returning home in the afternoon in a taxi after visiting a bakery in Islamabad’s Blue Area when the driver picked up another man who verbally abused and assaulted her. She was later dropped in an unconscious condition by the roadside. Her medical report said she had been physically assaulted.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Qureshi held a telephonic conversation with his Afghanistan counterpart Mohammad Hanif Atmar during which they exchanged views on bilateral issues.

According to the FO, Qureshi apprised Atmar of the steps taken by law-enforcement agencies in the wake of the July 16 incident involving the Afghan envoy's daughter.

He assured the Afghan foreign minister that the government will take every possible measure to arrest and bring the perpetrators of the incident to book.

Qureshi said the security of the Afghan embassy and consulates in Pakistan had been beefed up, and expressed the hope that the Afghan government will review its decision to recall its ambassador and diplomats while keeping in view Pakistan's efforts.

During the conversation, Atmar thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan for taking "personal interest" in the investigation of the incident, according to the FO.

He said Afghanistan accorded special importance to bilateral relations with Pakistan and was committed to their stability.

Sharing details of the investigation into the July 16 episode, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Sunday disclosed that the ordeal the envoy’s daughter had narrated about her alleged kidnapping was contrary to her statement given to the police. He said there was evidence that the woman had gone to Rawalpindi and Damn-i-Koh before the said abduction, though she had denied it.

The alleged abduction was reported only a day after the Afghan president in his talk at the international conference in Uzbekistan had held Pakistan responsible for violence in Afghanistan, while Prime Minister Imran Khan in his speech particularly addressed President Ashraf Ghani to say it was "extremely unfair" to blame Islamabad that had been making all-out efforts to ensure peace in its neighbouring country and the region.

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