ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Sunday strongly rejected the allegations by Afghanistan linking Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence with peace envoy Burhanuddin Rabbani's assassination.
“Pakistan strongly rejects the baseless allegations of the Afghan Interior Minister of ISI's involvement in the assassination of Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The reaction to Bismillah Mohammadi's remarks came hours after a statement from the Afghan presidential palace claiming that Rabbani's killer was Pakistani.
According to the statement, evidence shows that Rabbani's death last month “was plotted in Quetta and the person who carried out the suicide attack against Rabbani was a citizen of Pakistan”.
The statement added that the killer had been living in Chaman, a Pakistani border town near Quetta.
Pakistan questioned the evidence provided to its embassy in Kabul, and described Rabbani as a great friend of Pakistan, who was widely respected in the country.
Rabbani, chairman of President Hamid Karzai's High Peace Council, was killed by a turban suicide bomber at his home in Kabul on September 20.
He had thought that he was meeting a representative carrying a special message from the Taliban.
“The Afghan Interior Minister has not highlighted the fact that the assassin and his handler were roaming around in Kandahar and Kabul for quite some time,” the statement said.
“The Afghan Interior Minister did not say that the assassin had been four days in the guest house of the High Peace Council managed by Afghans close to Burhanuddin Rabbani”, the statement added.
“The assassin was also apparently not body searched before the meeting. These facts are also part of the confession handed over to the Embassy by the Afghan intelligence”.
The foreign ministry called Mohammadi's statement “all the more regrettable” as Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had himself offered cooperation in the investigation, during his recent visit to Kabul.
“Instead of making such irresponsible statements those in positions of authority in Kabul, should seriously deliberate as to why all those Afghans who are favourably disposed towards peace and towards Pakistan are systematically being removed from the scene and killed”.
It underscored the need to take stock of the direction taken by Afghan intelligence and security agencies.
Karzai's spokesman said on Sunday that the Afghan President is reviewing his strategy for making peace with the Taliban and will address the nation on next steps “very soon”.