Pakistan condemns Indian MEA's 'gratuitous and unwarranted' remarks about Afghan envoy's daughter episode

Published July 22, 2021
Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri called upon India to refrain from its "smear propaganda campaign" against Pakistan. — Photo courtesy: Radio Pakistan/File
Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri called upon India to refrain from its "smear propaganda campaign" against Pakistan. — Photo courtesy: Radio Pakistan/File

Pakistan on Thursday denounced the remarks by the spokesperson of India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) regarding the alleged brief abduction of the Afghan ambassador's daughter in Islamabad last week, terming them "gratuitous and unwarranted".

Ambassador Najibullah Alikhil’s 27-year-old daughter Silsila Alikhil was allegedly abducted briefly 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”.

However, the Pakistani government said the evidence collected by police did not support the allegation of abduction and torture levelled by the Alikhil family, while Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid termed the kidnapping claims an "international racket" led by Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) to defame Pakistan.

Editorial: 'Abduction' episode of envoy's daughter has dealt a fresh blow to Pak-Afghan ties

Commenting on the incident at a media briefing on Thursday, Indian MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi described it as “very shocking”, The Indian Express reported.

Bagchi noted that the matter involved Afghanistan and Pakistan. “However, since the Pakistan interior minister has dragged India into it, I would only like to say that even by their standards, Pakistan’s denial of the victim’s account is stooping to a new low,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying.

Responding to Bagchi's comments, the Foreign Office said: "Pakistan denounces the gratuitous and unwarranted remarks by the Indian MEA. India has no locus standi, whatsoever, on the matter."

The statement said India’s "malicious smear campaign" against Pakistan was well-known and independent organisations including the EU DisinfoLab had established India’s credentials as a "purveyor of anti-Pakistan propaganda globally".

"Even in the wake of the reported incident involving the daughter of the Afghan ambassador, Indian propaganda machinery against Pakistan was active and fake pictures of the ambassador’s daughter were being circulated by Indian Twitter handles and websites," the FO stated, adding that it was "unfortunate" that India had used such an incident to "peddle false narrative against Pakistan".

The statement said the only domains where India had set standards were "state-sponsored terrorism, illegal occupation, disregard of UN resolutions, mass murders and repression against women in the territory under its illegal occupation, political violence against minorities, and running organised fake propaganda networks around the world".

New Delhi, therefore, is "in no position to pontificate on ‘standards’ for other countries", it added.

Calling upon India to refrain from its "smear propaganda campaign" against Pakistan, the press release said: "We remain determined to push back against unabated Indian machinations and also to draw attention towards India’s role of a spoiler in the ongoing Afghan peace process."

Silsila Alikhil's medico-legal examination had shown 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 were narrated by the victim in the First Investigation Report filed with the police.

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