ISLAMABAD: Federal Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said on Monday that the interim government in Kabul has apologised to Pakistan for firing by Afghan Border Forces on the civilian population in Balochistan’s Chaman district a day earlier, saying the matter is now settled.

Speaking in the National Assembly, he said that the provocation at Chaman was from the Afghan side, in which a portion of the fence was damaged and it is now being repaired.

“The Afghan Border Security forces slammed the fence with a jeep but they did accept their mistake and apologised,” he added.

“When the matter escalated, they opened fire. In the first round of fire, no casualties occurred. But later when they used heavy ammunition […] because of that five of our civilians were martyred and two passed away on the way to Quetta,” he added.

6 killed, 17 injured in Chaman by Afghan border forces’ unprovoked firing: ISPR

In response, Asif said, Pakistan fired on the Afghan post which resulted in casualties of eight to nine Afghan soldiers.

“After that, the border security committee met again and it was agreed that Afghanistan was at fault […] we believe that there was no motive behind this […] there is no evidence of any planning behind the attack.”

The minister revealed that the Afghan authorities had admitted their mistake and promised that such incidents would not happen in the future.

“But one thing is clear the internal situation of Afghanistan is being reflected in its relations with Pakistan,” Asif stressed.

He added that Pakistan was a well-wisher of Afghanistan and wanted the situation there to improve, promising that “we will fully cooperate for Afghan peace”.

At the same time, Maulana Abdul Akber Chitrali, a lawmaker from hardliner Jamat-e-Islami Pakistan, said that the recent visit by State Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar to Kabul did give a “good impression” to Afghan leadership.

He proposed that a delegation headed by Maulana Asad Mehmood, who is the son of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal(JUI-F), should be sent to Afghanistan in what he said to mend differences between the two countries.

The Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Marriyum Aurangzeb, strongly reacted to the cleric’s statement, saying “it is a matter of pride for Pakistan that a woman state minister for foreign affairs represented Pakistan during talks in Kabul”.

She said that “history is witnessed that our women have always played an important role in the independence and development of Pakistan”.

Speaking on a point of order, Noor Alam Khan, a dissident of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), who is also chairman of the top parliamentary watchdog – the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) – said that the honeymoon period of the ruling coalition of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) is over.

“The honeymoon period of the ruling government is over. We didn’t ask anything from them in the last four months and somewhat accepted whatever they told us,” he added.

He continued that the prices of electricity, edible items, and other things are increasing with each passing day, adding the reports of the country fast becoming bankrupt has become the talk of the town, but the finance minister did not even bother to break his silence on the issue of the economy even once in the house.

He also questioned why the agreements with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were not presented in the house, adding all the agreements – made with the IMF by the incumbent as well as the previous government should be presented in the house.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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