Pak’s Qureshi dials counterpart in Kabul as Afghan recalls diplomats over abduction, torture of envoy’s daughter

·3-min read

Islamabad, Jul 19 (PTI) Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Monday telephoned his Afghan counterpart Mohammad Haneef Atmar and assured him of taking all steps to arrest the culprits involved in the kidnapping of the daughter of Afghanistan’s ambassador.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is fully aware of the diplomatic norms, and security of the Afghan embassy and consulate in Pakistan has been further enhanced, Radio Pakistan quoted Qureshi as saying.

He assured the Afghan Foreign Minister that “Pakistan will take all possible steps to arrest the accused and bring them to justice at the earliest.” Qureshi also said that “we hope that the Afghan government will review its decision of calling back its ambassador and senior diplomats from Pakistan keeping in view Pakistan's serious efforts.” The Afghan Foreign Minister thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan for his personal interest in the investigation and appreciated the efforts by Qureshi for enhancing security of the Afghan embassy and the consulate, the report said.

On Sunday, the diplomatic crisis between Pakistan and Afghanistan deepened after Kabul announced that it will withdraw its ambassador and other senior staff from Islamabad.

Silsila Alikhil, the 26-year-old daughter of Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan Najibullah Alikhil was abducted, tortured and assaulted on Friday by unknown persons in Islamabad. She was abducted while riding a rented vehicle and was held for several hours before being released. She was found near F-9 Park area of the capital with torture marks on her body.

Pakistan's Foreign Office in an overnight statement said the reported abduction and assault of the daughter of Afghanistan’s ambassador is being investigated and followed-up at the highest level on the instructions of Prime Minister Khan.

Pakistan termed as 'unfortunate and regrettable' Afghanistan's decision to recall its ambassador and other senior diplomats from Islamabad, and urged Kabul to reconsider the move.

Meanwhile, Pakistan also called back its ambassador to Afghanistan for 'consultations' on the alleged abduction and release of the Afghan envoy’s daughter in Islamabad, according to the Foreign Office.

Ambassador Mansoor Ahmad Khan arrived here on Sunday to meet Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood.

Mahmood on Monday met the Afghan envoy and highlighted all the steps taken by the government and re-assured him of full cooperation.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid told Geo TV on Sunday that the entire episode of abduction was the result of an 'international racket' to defame Pakistan.

'She went to Rawalpindi on her own will... we have CCTV footage. This is a conspiracy,' he said.

In a statement issued on Saturday, Afghanistan demanded Pakistan “to identify and prosecute the perpetrators at the soonest possible time”.

The Afghan foreign ministry also said it “expresses its deep concern over the safety and security of diplomats, their families, and staff members of the Afghan political and consular missions in Pakistan”.

Pakistan and Afghanistan often trade accusations, with Kabul claiming Islamabad is sending thousands of militants to fight in the war-torn country and providing safe haven for the Taliban. Pakistan, in turn, claims that Afghanistan harbours the anti-Pakistani group Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan - the Pakistani Taliban - and also the secessionist Balochistan Liberation Army.

Afghanistan has seen an uptick in violence after US President Joe Biden’s announcement of the withdrawal of US and NATO troops. PTI SH PMS CPS AKJ CPS

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