Chaman border reopened after Afghanistan's apology: Khawaja Asif

Committee of border security forces formed to avert such incidents, says Asif

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Minister for Defence Khawaja Muhammad Asif addresses on the floor of the National Assembly on December 12, 2022, in Islamabad. — YouTube/PTVParliament
Minister for Defence Khawaja Muhammad Asif addresses on the floor of the National Assembly on December 12, 2022, in Islamabad. — YouTube/PTVParliament 
  • Border reopened after Afghanistan apologised, says Khawaja Asif. 
  • Committee of border security forces formed, says minister. 
  • Six citizens were martyred in Sunday's cross-border attack.

Defence Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif said Monday that the Chaman border — between Pakistan and Afghanistan — has been re-opened after the neighbouring country apologised for the incident that martyred six Pakistani citizens and wounded 17 others.

The incident took place Sunday after Afghan border forces had opened unprovoked and indiscriminate fire at the civilian area in Balochistan's Chaman, according to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).

Asif, speaking to journalists in Islamabad, said that Afghanistan opened fire on civilians and in retaliation, Pakistan's security forces targeted the neighbouring country's check post.

However, committee of border security forces has been formed to avert such occurrences, he said. The minister also ruled out negotiation with the outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

The defence minister also responded to the remarks of Jamaat-e-Islami's MNA Abdul Akbar Chitrali, where he targeted State Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar.

He said that a person should be judged on their performance, not on the basis of gender. "The remarks were uncalled for."

The JI minister claimed that Khar was sent to Afghanistan, but her visit did not have a favourable impact.

Pakistan calls for action  

The minister's response came after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif termed the Chaman incident as “unfortunate” and asked the Afghanistan government to "ensure that such incidents are not repeated."

“Unprovoked shelling and fire by Afghan Border Forces at Chaman resulting in the martyrdom of several Pakistani citizens and injuring more than a dozen is unfortunate and deserves the strongest condemnation,” the prime minister said.

In a press release, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) also condemned the “unprovoked and indiscriminate firing” on the civilian population by the Afghan forces.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, in the statement, said such unfortunate incidents are “not in keeping” with the brotherly ties between the two countries.

She said the Afghan authorities have been informed that the recurrence of such incidents must be avoided and the strictest possible action must be taken against those responsible.

The spokesperson said it is the responsibility of both sides to protect civilians along the border.