ISLAMABAD: The government on Monday said that the evidence collected by police in Afghan envoy’s daughter’s case did not support the allegation of abduction and torture levelled by the Alikhil family and asked Kabul to share available proofs so that right conclusions could be drawn.

Speaking at a media conference at the Foreign Office alongside Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf, Inspector General of Islamabad Police Qazi Jamilur Rehman said: “The impression that was given was not proven as per evidence gathered by us.”

It was earlier alleged that Ambassador Najibullah Alikhil’s 27-year-old daughter Silsila Alikhil was briefly abducted and tortured by unidentified persons on Friday while returning from a bakery in Blue Area before being dropped alongside a road with her hands and feet tied and a note that “your turn is next” and “communist”.

Pakistan asks Afghanistan to share proof of allegations

Her medico-legal examination had then showed that she had been physically assaulted. The medico-legal report had recorded that she was “kidnapped” at 1.45pm and later retrieved from a park at 7pm.

Kabul later recalled its ambassador and senior diplomats from Islamabad to push the Pakistan government for “the arrest and trial of the kidnappers” and “full elimination of security threats”.

But as the government launched investigations, it claimed to have unearthed a different set of events related to the case than what were narrated by the victim in the First Investigation Report filed with the police.

The capital city’s police chief, while explaining the vastness of the probe, said it involved review of over 700 hours of video footage from official as well as private surveillance cameras and interrogation of some 220 people by about 350 officers.

“We have tracked the full route, ascertained it, verified it, we have all those drivers, who drove her around, and possess technical evidence corroborating our information. So that version or impression that some incident happened when she took the second taxi is not proven. The driver is there,” IG Rehman said, adding that his claim was fully backed by human and technical evidence.

As per his account, Silsila left her home in F-7 on foot and took a taxi from the neighbourhood market for Khadda Market, which is predominantly a workshop area for vehicle repairs. From there she reportedly took another cab for Saddar, a business centre, in Rawalpindi, where she took a third taxi for going to Daman-i-Koh, a resort in Margalla Hills, Islamabad. She later rode a fourth taxi to F-9 park via F-6. She is said to have called an embassy vehicle to the park, which then took her home.

The IG did not give any details about what Silsila had been doing during her visits to Saddar and Daman-i-Koh.

The government has through a note verbale, a diplomatic memorandum, asked the Afghan embassy to share its version so that Alikhil family’s account of the event and the details that have emerged through the probe could be reconciled.

Foreign Minister Qureshi said he spoke to his Afghan counterpart Hanif Atmar over phone to assure him that Pakistan had nothing to hide and was therefore willing to cooperate and transparently conduct the investigation.

Foreign Minister Atmar informed Mr Qureshi about the visit of an Afghan team for reviewing the security environment for embassy, consulates, diplomats and their families.

Mr Qureshi said Pakistan had no objection to the visit and was ready to cooperate with the security team. Emphasising the need for cooperation from Afghanistan in the case, he said the findings were by no means conclusive and would be given a final touch after hearing from the Afghan side.

NSA Yusuf said Pakistan was a victim of “hybrid warfare” and was being targeted by hostile media propaganda.

Earlier in the day, there were rumours that Pakistan too called back its ambassador from Kabul following the Afghan move.

FO spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, while talking to Dawn, said Ambassador Mansoor Ahmad Khan was here on a routine visit and for Eid holidays.

Published in Dawn, July 20th, 2021

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