Pakistan condemns border shelling by Afghan forces
Pakistan Monday condemned the unprovoked border shelling by the Afghan forces killing four civilians, on the commencement of two-day regional anti-narcotics ministerial conference being attended by Afghanistan along with other regional countries.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2012
Convened on the initiative of President Asif Ali Zardari, the conference is being attended by representatives of 12 regional countries including China, Afghanistan, Iran, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan to discuss ways and means for formulating joint line of action to check the menace.
The conference was earlier scheduled to be inaugurated by President Zardari but he could not attend due to unknown reasons. However, inaugurating the conference, Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani underlined the need for taking comprehensive measures to check the drug trafficking, adding that it was responsibility of the regional countries to come forward to jointly control the menace, which has become a challenge. Referring to the fresh cross border infiltration by Afghan forces, the foreign secretary said that the issue will be taken up with Afghan government.
Later, a spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani conveyed deep concern of the government of Pakistan to the Afghan Ambassador over the unprovoked border shelling by the Afghan forces last evening killing four civilians.
Condemning the attacks, the Foreign Secretary said that such attacks are not helpful and unproductive, and only disturb the conducive environment that Pakistan is trying to create for promotion of peace and stability in the region. He also strongly urged the Afghan government to take appropriate measures to prevent recurrence of similar incidents in future.
The protest came at a time when top Afghan peace negotiator is on a three-day visit to Islamabad to hold talks with top Pakistani civil and military leadership on the reconciliation process in Afghanistan. About the regional ministerial Conference on counter-narcotics, the spokesman said that the objectives of the conference is to share national experiences in countering the menace of illicit drugs and discuss prospects of regional cooperation in developing pragmatic, comprehensive and sustainable ways of addressing the multifaceted challenges posed by illicit drugs' production, demand and trafficking.
He further said that narcotics adversely affect the health of individuals and societies; they also threaten the security and stability of states. "The democratic government of Pakistan has taken a number of steps in the recent past to address the growing threat of narcotics. As a result, Pakistan becomes a Poppy Free Country in 2011 and, currently, leads the world in narcotic drugs control," the spokesman added.