The Foreign Office on Thursday confirmed that Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Dr Abdullah Abdullah had postponed his trip to Pakistan in the wake of Tuesday’s massive attack in Kabul which Islamabad strongly condemned.
“Prime Minister [Nawaz Sharif] had extended an invitation to Dr Abdullah for a visit to Pakistan,” said Nafees Zakaria, the Foreign Office spokesperson during his weekly briefing in Islamabad on Thursday.
Pakistan does not ‘cooperate in anti-terrorism activities’, claims Abdullah Abdullah
He confirmed that the visit, scheduled for May 2-3, had been postponed. “New dates would be worked out through diplomatic channels.”
Earlier, he condemned the suicide bomb and gun attack on Afghanistan’s National Security Services building in the heart of Kabul on Tuesday. The attack killed at least 64 people and injured over 350 people. It was the deadliest attack in the Afghan capital since 2001. He added that Pakistan was engaged in sincere and consistent efforts to facilitate the Afghan peace process.
“We believe that violence and bloodshed is not the way to achieve peace,” Zakaria said, adding that Pakistan too was engaged in the fight against terrorism.
Asked about the next meeting of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG), which has been charting a path for talks with insurgent groups in Afghanistan, Zakaria said that the four countries involved will meet when they are ready to do so.
Confirming that additional arrests have been made in the country based on information provided by Indian spy Kulbhushan Yadav, Zakaria said that the issue would be raised with the international community at the appropriate time as more information becomes available. “We are now briefing the international community on the latest arrest [of Yadav] which confirms our previous stance.”
Dr Abdullah says he doubts Pakistan’s peace role
When asked about the dossiers given to the US, United Nations and other countries, the spokesperson clarified that they contained evidence available at the time on foreign hands involved in financing terrorism inside Pakistan.
Taking a veiled swipe at countries accusing Pakistan of sponsoring terrorism activities, Zakaria said “there is a difference in blaming external actors for involvement in your country and providing solid, credible evidence.”
He also deplored India’s attempts to get the UN to sanction Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar. “Attempts to politicise this process are regrettable.” The spokesman said India did not give advance warning of nuclear missile test in the Indian Ocean.
Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni said that Italy and Pakistan were on the “same page” in the fight against terrorism and were ready for close cooperation in counterterrorism. In a joint press conference with Advisor to Prime Minister Sartaj Aziz in Islamabad on Thursday, Gentiloni said that they were exchanging expertise and sharing information in fighting terrorism.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd, 2016.
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