Monday July 22, 2024

Chaman border clash: Kabul apologises, commits no future violence, NA told

During session, women lawmakers voice support for Hina Rabbani after criticism over her recent official visit to Kabul

By Asim Yasin
December 13, 2022
Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif addressing the National Assembly on December 12, 2022. Screengrab of a Twitter video
Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif addressing the National Assembly on December 12, 2022. Screengrab of a Twitter video 

ISLAMABAD: Defense Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif Monday told the National Assembly that Afghanistan had ‘apologised’ for its security forces’ unprovoked firing in Chaman resulting in the martyrdom of seven civilians.

Speaking in the National Assembly, he said during a border security committee meeting, the Afghan side accepted their mistake and assured that such an incident will not occur again.

Prior to his policy statement in the National Assembly, the government took exception to Jamaat-e-Islami legislator Maulana Akbar Chitrali’s objection to the visit of Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar to Kabul.

However, he later withdrew his remarks on the insistence of Minister for Economic Affairs Sardar Ayaz Sadiq. Asif was of view that the issue should have been raised in the joint bilateral committee first. He said the Afghan forces fired with heavy weapons, killing seven civilians.

“Our forces fired on their military posts. There was no evidence of deliberate or government planning in the incident,” he said. He said Pakistan was a well-wisher of Afghanistan and desired resolution of its internal problems.

He said the internal problems of Afghanistan were affecting Pakistan and the world should recognise the Afghan government and return their withheld money. He said Pakistan will continue to extend cooperation for peace and stability in Afghanistan adding that this will open vistas of economic and trade cooperation in the region.

He said the Afghan side welcomed the recent visit of Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar to Kabul for talks. When the Chaman incident was being discussed in the House, Maulana Chitrali said Pakistan’s consulate in Afghanistan was attacked by terrorists in the past few days after which attacks were taking place from Afghanistan on a daily basis. “They should be asked why firing is taking place and who are the people wanting to increase this division,” he said.

He said Khar’s visit to Kabul had not left a good impression. Minister for Poverty Alleviation and Social Justice Shazia Marri criticised Maulana Chitrali saying his statement that Khar’s visit to Afghanistan was not well-received was very wrong.

“I condemn this narrow-minded comment of a person who wants to confine the women to their houses. We are proud of our minister of state for her efforts, as when she went to Afghanistan, he did not notice that the international media had appreciated Pakistan for sending its woman minister to Afghanistan where the women had no rights. If such comments were repeated, then we will again condemn such remarks, as enough is enough,” she said.

Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman also took exception to Maulana Chitrali’s remarks and said women always made Pakistan proud. She said Benazir Bhutto, the twice elected prime minister of Pakistan, not only made the Islamic world proud, but also the world.

Mohsin Dawar said the Taliban took over Afghanistan by force and he did not consider them as the legitimate rulers. “It should be for us to decide where our woman foreign minister will go,” he said.

He said the situation was worsening and terrorist attacks were increasing adding that the Nacta report had also suggested that the rise in terrorism increased in the country due to the cushion given to the TTP.

In her remarks, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb said it was a matter of pride for Pakistan that a woman minister of state for foreign affairs represented Pakistan during talks in Kabul. She said history testified to the fact that the Pakistani women always played an important role in the independence and development of Pakistan.

Maulana Chitrali clarified that what he said was that it was not proper to send Hina Rabbani Khar and instead a delegation of representatives of the defunct Fata and religious scholars should have represented Pakistan.

“What results come out after her visit, as only civilians were attacked?” he asked. Marriyum Aurangzeb said the general elections will be held in October next year. She said people will support the truth and not vote in favor of the one who wanted to stoke anarchy and divide the nation.