Afghan envoy’s daughter abducted for ‘hours’

PM orders ‘top priority’ investigation into incident


Our Correspondent July 17, 2021
File

ISLAMABAD:

The daughter of Afghanistan's ambassador to Pakistan Najibullah Alikhil was “abducted and "manhandled" by unidentified assailants in Islamabad, the Foreign Office said in a statement on Saturday.

Prime Minister Imran Khan directed Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed to utilise all resources to apprehend the people involved in kidnapping the Afghan envoy’s daughter within 48 hours.

The FO said the Islamabad police had launched a thorough investigation as soon as the disturbing incident surfaced on Friday.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and relevant security authorities are closely in contact with the ambassador and his family and extending full support in the matter," the statement read.

It further stated that the security of the ambassador and his family had been beefed up and law enforcement agencies were trying to trace and apprehend the culprits..

Read more: Afghan peace moot postponed after Ghani’s snub

"It is reiterated that the safety and security of the diplomatic missions, as well as the diplomats and their families, is of utmost importance. Such incidents can and will not be tolerated.”

The Afghan foreign ministry, while confirming the incident, claimed that the ambassador's daughter, Silsila Alikhil, was "abducted for several hours and severely tortured".

Condemning the incident, Kabul expressed "its deep concern over the safety and security" of it diplomats and their families in Pakistan.

The ministry added that the ambassador's daughter was receiving medical care at a hospital in Islamabad.

It demanded that Pakistan should “identify and prosecute the perpetrators at the soonest possible time”.

Kabul also urged Islamabad “to take immediate necessary actions” to ensure the security of the Afghan embassy and consulates as well as immunity of the country's diplomats and their families in accordance with international treaties and conventions.

After the incident surfaced, PM Imran directed the interior minister to ensure that the Islamabad police and other law enforcement agencies must investigate it as “top priority”.

Accordingly, the interior ministry’s spokesperson said, all efforts were being made to thoroughly investigate the matter and apprehend the culprits.

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The Afghan foreign ministry summoned Pakistan’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Mansoor Ahmad Khan in Kabul to lodge its protest against the abduction of his Afghan counterpart’s daughter in Islamabad.

It called on Pakistan to immediately arrest and punish the perpetrators of the act.

It demanded that Pakistan should ensure the security and safety of Afghan diplomats in the country in accordance with the international law.

PPP’s Senator Sherry Rehman wrote on Twitter that the Afghan ambassador's daughter was a young woman who "should not face any obstacle in walking about in central Islamabad".

"Hope the interior ministry immediately provides enhanced security to such soft targets. Pakistan is already facing instability from the fallout of escalating violence in Afghanistan which is why Afghan-led peace is important next door," she added.

The incident comes at a time when a key conference to be hosted by Pakistan seeking a political consensus on the Afghan endgame was postponed after the Afghan government refused to send its delegation.

“The Afghan Peace Conference scheduled to be held in Islamabad from 17-19 July 2021 has been postponed until after Eidul Azha,” said a brief statement issued by the FO a day earlier.

The new dates of the conference will be announced later, the statement added.

The Afghan Peace Conference was set to be held in Islamabad. A number of Afghan leaders including former Afghan president Hamid Karzai, Salahuddin Rabbani, a former foreign minister, Omar Zakhilwal, a former finance minister, Haji Mohammad Mohaqiq, a senior leader of ethnic Hazara minority community, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former warlord-turned politician, and Ahmad Wali Masoud were invited to the two-day conference.

PM Imran told Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Friday that Pakistan would be the last county to try to destabilise his country and stressed the need for the Afghan stakeholders and the international community to gear up efforts for a “politically negotiated settlement” there.

Responding to the speech of Ghani at a conference on ‘Central and South Asia Regional Connectivity, Challenges and Opportunities’ in Tashkent, the premier said blaming Pakistan for the ongoing unrest in the war-battered country was “extremely unfair”.

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