Pakistan has no fight with Afghanistan but wants effective border management: Asif tells Senate

ISLAMABAD, June 16 (APP): Defence Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif Thursday said that Pakistan has no fight with Afghanistan but wanted an effective border management for peace and security in the region.

“There are no two opinions on border management as it is necessary for our security and against the war on terrorism and its conclusion,” he said in a policy statement in Upper House of the Parliament on recent tension in Pak-Afghan relations.

He said Pakistan wanted to resolve the issue of border management with Afghanistan amicably and remove concerns of each others in this regard , adding that permanent border management between the two countries was an effective part of the war against terrorism and in the interest of the two countries.

He said the government had been in talks with the Afghan government over one year and a half year to ensure better management of the border in order to stop infiltration of militants from both sides. He said this is in the interest of both the countries.

Khawaja Asif said a proper border between the two countries like the Pak-India and Pak-Iran borders would remove the series of leveling of allegations regarding presence of Quetta Shoora, Haqqani Network on our soil and Pakistan’s complaint of presence of TTPs leadership in Afghanistan.

Referring to the recent tension caused by clashes at Torkham border, the Minister reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment for brotherly relations with the neighbouring country.

He said both the countries share common history, culture and religion and their destinies wre interlinked. He said “we have no animosity with Afghanistan; rather interests of both the countries are interconnected.”

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The Defence Minister said the time has come for the international community to resolve the issue of Afghan refugees as presence of three million refugees on our soil for the last four decades had created multiple problems for Pakistan.

He said there were 78 identified crossings at Pak-Afghan border in which major notified were Torkham and Chaman, adding that two were under development at North and South Waziristan, three in Kurram Agency while nine notified crossings were closed. He said 16 crossings are frequent and some are seasonal, he added.

But, the minister added that situation at Torkham border had tensed following start of firing by Afghan border police after start of work by Pakistan on erection of a gate and fence at Torkham.

He said the Afghan border police objected to development of fence at Torkham border which forced Pakistani authority to close the gate.

The Afghan government stance is that they will not allow construction of check post at Torkham at zero line, adding that even our enemy country India has allowed construction of check posts at zero line.

He said Durand Line was a historical issue and the Afghan side wanted to maintain that status, in which our enemies were also playing their role . But he added that both the civilian and military leadership of Pakistan tried to promote brotherly relations with Afghanistan as Pakistan considered that peace in Afghanistan was in the interest of Pakistan and the region.

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About incidents of firing at Torkham border, he said on June 12 at 21:49 pm the Afghan border police fired at Torkham border as a result one Pakistani soldier got injured, adding that Pakistani side also responded. He said on June 13, the Afghan border police soldiers fired five to six mortar bomb inuring one soldier while in another firing incident from the Afghan side nine civilian were injured.

Asif said Major Ali Jawad got injured due to mortar and small fire by the Afghan border police and later succumbed to his injuries in hospital.

He added that moment a flag meeting between the two countries was in progress, adding that Pakistan has no enmity with Afghanistan and wanted to promote brotherly relations with Afghanistan.

He said Pakistan was playing its role in promoting peace in Afghanistan, but added that every thing was uncertain following the killing of Afghan Taliban leader Mulla Akhtar Mansour.

The Minister said both countries should remove their genuine concerns but added that the situation remained tense following incidents of firing at Torkham border. He said both sides should accommodate each others and resolve the issue amicably as it was in the interest of both the neighbours.