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Ghani rejects invitation to visit Pakistan [The Nation] 04 May, 2017

KABUL - Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has rejected Pakistan’s offer to visit the country, deputy spokesperson Dawa Khan Mina Pal told BBC on Wednesday.

“I will not visit Pakistan until the perpetrators behind the attacks on Kandahar, Mazar-e-Sharif, and American University in Kabul are handed over to Afghanistan, and action is taken against Afghan Taliban in Pakistan,” the Afghan president was quoted as saying by the deputy spokesman.

Officials told BBC that the Afghan leader had provided documentary evidences regarding probe into recent terrorist attacks to the Pakistani side, insisting the responsible be handed over to Afghanistan.

Ghani’s denial comes a day after Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar visited Kabul for talks on security issues.

Also, the visit of a high-powered 15-member delegation of Pakistani parliamentarians to Kabul on April 29-30 was also a significant move as lawmakers had detailed discussions with President Ghani, Chief Executive Dr Abdullah Abdullah and former president Hamid Karzai.

On April 27, senior Pakistani military officials travelled to Kabul on the directive of Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa to convey sympathies to Afghan officials over the human losses in Taliban attack on a major army base in Mazar-e-Sharif. Both sides used the opportunity to touch upon security issues, including effective border management, as lack of border coordination is one of the key irritants in bilateral relationship.

There was no official response to Ghani’s rejection from Pakistan’s Foreign Office or military authorities.

Observers are viewing the Afghan president’s attitude as inflexible. “If this claim of Afghan officials is true, it means Afghanistan lacks desire to improve bilateral ties,” senior defence analyst Raheemullah Yousafzai said while talking to BBC.

“If [the] Afghan president accuses the neighbouring country of providing safe havens to Haqqani and other militant networks inside its terroritory, Pakistan complains of the same - that Afghanistan shelters Pakistan Taliban,” he added.

Yousafzai was of the view that Pakistan will keep trying for improving the relations between two Muslim neighbouring nations.


This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 04-May-2017 here.

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