- FO spokesperson says Pakistan has highest stakes in when it comes to peace, stability of Afghanistan
- Afghanistan cancels cricket games with Pakistan
The Foreign Office has strongly rejected as baseless allegations from Afghanistan that Pakistan is behind the recent terrorist attack in Kabul.
He was responding to Afghanistan blaming Pakistan for the deadly blast in Kabul, which killed over 90 and injured more than 360 people. Afghan Tolo News tweeted, quoting Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS), that the blast was carried out by the Haqqani Network with direct help from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
At his weekly news briefing in the capital on Thursday, Foreign Office Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said the accusatory approach is unhelpful towards efforts to peace.
He said Pakistan itself has suffered immensely from terrorism and it has given unparalleled sacrifices in the war on terrorism.
Pakistan has the highest stakes in when it comes to the peace and stability of Afghanistan more than any other country, he stated.
Our commitment to peace in Afghanistan is based on sincerity and is beyond any doubt, he added.
Zakaria, however, said it is disappointing that certain elements which have no interest in peace want to damage relations between the two neighbouring countries.
They are trying to malign Pakistan for their vested agenda, he claimed, adding that the onus of setbacks in Afghanistan cannot be put on Pakistan or others.
He said Pakistan believes in politically negotiated settlement of the Afghan issue as there is no military solution to the conflict.
Responding to questions regarding the Kashmir dispute, the spokesperson said peace, stability and development will remain elusive in the region without the resolution of the outstanding dispute between Pakistan and India.
He said India is escalating tension on the border and committing ceasefire violations in order to divert attention from the Kashmir dispute.
He said the latest Indian unprovoked firing on the Line of Control resulted in the martyrdom of two civilians and injuries to seven others.
The spokesperson said India is using different tactics to malign the purely indigenous freedom movement of the Kashmiri people.
He, however, said India will never succeed in its attempts as the movement is being led by the Kashmiri people.
He said Pakistan will continue to extend moral, political and diplomatic support to the Kashmiri people in their just struggle for the right to self-determination.
He said the world community should play its due role in the resolution of Kashmir dispute in line with the United Nations’ resolutions.
Responding to a question, the spokesperson said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a regional connectivity project which will link Central Asian states, South Asia and the Middle East.
He made it clear that the project is not against any other country.
He said India itself is inviting investment from different countries in the areas which are under its illegal occupation or are the disputed territories.
Zakaria also stated that India is perpetrating and financing terrorism in Pakistan.
About reports that India is hiring Afghan refugees to perpetrate sabotage activities in Pakistan, he said this further exposes the very face of India which is conspiring to create troubles in another sovereign country by using vulnerable segments of society.
ACB-PCB RELATIONS DAMAGED BY KABUL ATTACK:
Afghanistan cancelled proposed home and away cricket fixtures with Pakistan after the deadly bomb attack.
Pakistan was set to play their first Twenty20 match in Kabul later this year in what was seen as an opportunity for the neighbours to ease tensions over border skirmishes and alleged proxy warfare.
The Kabul match, set for July or August, would have been followed by a fixture in Pakistan and a full series at an unspecified date.
But the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) issued a strongly worded statement late on Wednesday, cancelling the matches in light of a truck bombing in the city’s diplomatic quarter that killed at least 90 people.
“The ACB hereby cancel all kinds of cricket matches and initial mutual relationship agreement with the Pakistan Cricket Board,” the Afghan board said on its Facebook page.
“The PCB strongly rejects the baseless and unsubstantiated allegations levelled by Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) in the wake of the tragic Kabul blast. Our sympathies are with the victims and families affected by the tragedy. However, the PCB rejects the careless and irresponsible statement made by the ACB and hereby announces the cancellation of the proposed friendly series between the two countries,” the PCB said in its response.
“PCB has always encouraged the development of cricket in Afghanistan and millions of Afghan refugees were first introduced to the game in Pakistan. Over the years, the PCB helped cricketers in Afghanistan develop their skill and an entire generation of Afghan national players honed their cricketing skills in Pakistan,” the statement read.
“The agreement made with ACB last weekend was subject to conducive conditions in Afghanistan and now stands cancelled because of continuing insecurity and instability there. It is regrettable that the ACB delegation insisted that politics should not impinge on cricket is now laying the blame for its troubles and inadequacies elsewhere,” the statement added.
The developments also leave Pakistan in an awkward position of strained ties with their fellow Asian cricketing nations, with the exception of Sri Lanka. There has been friction with the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) over the last few years, amped up in recent days over their refusal to tour Pakistan owing to security concerns—which has prompted Pakistan to call off their own tour to Bangladesh.