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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Pakistan closes its consulate in Jalalabad over unnecessary intervention and security reasons

News Analysis |

Pakistan Embassy in Afghanistan has announced to close its consulate in the Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province. The reason cited for the development is excessive and unnecessary intervention by the governor of Nangarhar Hayatullah Hayat into the affairs of the consulate and inadequate security measures.

According to the press statement issued by the embassy, it has requested the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan “to kindly refrain from interfering in the functioning of the Consulate General and to ensure restoration of the security of the Consulate General as it existed on August 28, 2018”. Pakistan has said that the meddling into the affairs of the embassyis a “complete violation of the Vienna Convention of the Consular Relation 1963”. Nangarhar is the province which has had the highest no. of casualties and attacks by Taliban and ISIS insurgents in recent times.

Since the beginning of 2018, Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province has experienced more than 70 terror attacks, killing 260 and injuring over 500, according to an Afghan watchdog organization that monitors violence and civilian casualties around the country. A large number of those killings have been the result of suicide bombings.

Afghan government officials are known to blame Pakistan behind the insurgency. Conventionally the blame game is confined to “behind the scene” manipulation of the extremists in Afghanistan but recently the Information minister of Afghanistan bluntly alleged the top generals of the Pakistan Army behind the attack on Ghazni city. “Pakistan and Pakistan’s military was involved in the plan to attack Ghazni; Pakistan provided all sufficient aid to them and it’s very clear,” said Moi spokesman Najib Danish.

Read more: Pakistan & Afghanistan are on road to peace but it’s bumpy

The Afghan president also accused Pakistanof the medical treatment of the injured Taliban during the attack. “General Bajwa, you signed a document with us and told me repeatedly in our conversations over the phone that when the elections in Pakistan are over you will pay attention to it. I need answers now. From where they came and why are they receiving treatment in your hospitals?” Ghani had questioned while making accusatory statements.

The statement was ferociously condemned by Pakistan embassy in Afghanistan as baseless and dementing to the relations between both the countries. The security situation in Jalalabad has been critical over the years. In 2013, the Indian consulate in Jalalabad came under attack. Afghan security forces spotted the attackers as they approached the consulate in a car leading to one of the attackers detonating his explosives.

The blast killed 9 people, six of them children, and wounded 24 others. Pakistan has urged the Afghan government to increase the security of the consulate before it could be resumed to carry out routine operations.

In recent years the insurgency in Afghanistan has increased to several folds exposing the operational capabilities of Afghan National Army. The government has been inclined to provide themas much room for the negotiations as possible but the response from Taliban has not been quite welcoming. Afghanistan has repeatedly asked Pakistan to use the historic leverage it has with the Taliban fighters to come to the table. Pakistan has been able to bring them to talks but every time the talks have been sabotaged due to American belligerence against the group.

Read more: Pakistan working for a peaceful Afghanistan: Ambassador Ali Jahangir

Negotiations are the only way out for the sustainable peace in Afghanistan which ultimately leads to the peace for the entire region. Pakistan has repeatedly said that it is willing to provide whatever service needed which will ensure peace for both the countries. Pakistan has also pursued the rapid fencing of its Durand line with Afghanistan to stop the illegal movement of insurgents through the border. But it is clear that the trust is lacking from both the sides.

Despite continuous efforts and visits from civil and military officials of both the countries, the relations between the countries have not sustainably improved. It is going to be another crucial challenge for the new government in Pakistan to help the critical relations with the Ghani government.