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Pakistan’s mission head in Kabul escapes assassination attempt

Pakistan asks Afghanistan to immediately hold thorough investigations into this attack and apprehend culprits

By Zarghoon Shah
December 02, 2022
The national flag hoisted at Pakistans embassy in Kabul. — Radio Pakistan/File
The national flag hoisted at Pakistan's embassy in Kabul. — Radio Pakistan/File

KABUL: Pakistan’s Mission Head in Kabul Ubaidur Rehman Nizamani escaped an assassination attempt on Friday, confirmed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In a statement, FO spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said: “The compound of the Embassy of Pakistan in Kabul came under attack today targeting Head of Mission Ubaidur Rehman Nizamani.”

She maintained that by the grace of Allah Almighty, the head of the mission is safe, however, a Pakistani security guard Sepoy Israr Mohammad was injured while protecting the senior diplomat.

Strongly condemning the assassination attempt on the life of the head of the mission and at the embassy, the Foreign Office demanded of the interim government of Afghanistan to hold thorough and immediate investigations into the attack.

“The interim government of Afghanistan must immediately hold thorough investigations in this attack, apprehend the culprits, hold them to account, and take urgent measures to ensure the safety and security of Pakistani diplomatic personnel and citizens in Afghanistan, read the statement.

Sources privy to the matter said that the security guard sustained three bullets in his chest and was rushed to the hospital.     

Ubaidur Rehman was attacked when he was taking a walk, sources said, adding that there was no activity at the embassy due to the weekly day off.

Following the attack, Pakistan has decided to call back the head of mission and other officials from Kabul temporarily.

Pakistan not shutting down embassy

In response to a media query, MOFA Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said there are no plans to close the embassy or withdraw diplomats from Kabul.

The spokesperson said Pakistan is in contact with the Afghan government and enhanced security measures are being taken to protect Pakistani diplomatic personnel and missions in Afghanistan.

Later in the day, Pakistan summoned Afghan Chargé d’Affaires Sardar Muhammad Shokaib to the ministry to convey its deep concern and anguish over the attack on Ambassador Nizamani, the Foreign Office said.

The statement further added that the additional secretary for Afghanistan and West Asia conveyed Pakistan’s grave concern over the serious incident in which the head of mission remained unhurt.

The Afghan official was informed that it was his country's responsibility to ensure that Pakistan’s diplomatic missions and personnel remain safe, the Foreign Office said.

"...this incident was an extremely serious security lapse,” Pakistani officials told Shokaib.

They demanded all necessary steps be taken to ensure the security of the diplomatic premises, officers, and staff working in Pakistan’s mission in Kabul and Consulates in Jalalabad, Kandahar, Herat, and Mazar-i-Sharif.

Calling the attack “highly unfortunate”, the Afghan Chargé d’Affaires said that the attack was perpetrated by the common enemies of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

He also informed that the security of the Pakistani diplomatic missions had already been beefed up and assured that the Afghan authorities would leave no stone unturned in bringing the perpetrators of this dastardly act to justice.

President condemns assassination attempt

President Dr Arif Alvi has strongly condemned the attempted assassination attack on Ambassador Nizamani.

“Thank God that the Head of Mission in Kabul is safe. I pray for the speedy recovery of the injured security guard,” the president said deeming the attack a cause for concern.

Pakistan condemns all forms of terrorism and is determined for its end,” Dr Alvi said in a statement.

The president added that terrorism is a common threat and joint efforts are required to compete against it.

PM Shehbaz talks to diplomat

Condemning the incident, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif deemed it dastardly and lauded the guard for saving the life of the envoy.

"Salute to the brave security guard, who took [a] bullet to save his life," he wrote in his tweet.

The prime minister urged the Kabul government to take swift action against the perpetrators of “this heinous act”. He also urged the Afghan authorities to launch an immediate probe into the assassination attempt.

The premier also shared on Twitter about his conversation with Ambassador Nizamani.

“Relieved to hear that he is safe. I expressed solidarity of government and people with him, while assuring full support and assistance to him and mission on all counts,” he tweeted conveying his prayers for the swift recovery of the “brave" security guard.

It should be noted that Ubaidur Rehman assumed charge of the office on November 4.

Account 'hacked'

Earlier in the day, the Consulate General of Pakistan Kandahar’s official account was hacked and immediately recovered, as per the consulate’s tweet.

“Official account of Consulate General of Pakistan Kandahar was hacked a while ago which was immediately recovered,” the consulate tweeted.

It added that unsolicited tweets have been deleted while the matter has been reported to Twitter.

“The Consulate offers sincere apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused. The matter is being reported to Twitter,” the consulate added.