Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s National Assembly Speaker Ayaz Sadiq has said Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani had assured him that he would visit Islamabad after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pays a visit to Afghanistan.

Ayaz Sadiq, who recently led a parliamentary delegation during a visit to Kabul, explained to the media Sunday that the Afghan president had not declined invitations extended to him by top Pakistani officials, as Ghani’s Deputy Spokesperson Dawa Khan Minapal had said last week.

Minapal claimed that Ghani, after meetings with Director General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Naveed Mukhtar and Sadiq, had rejected their invitations, saying he would not visit Pakistan until Islamabad hands over the perpetrators of recent terror attacks in Afghanistan.

“I will not go to Pakistan till the perpetrators behind the attacks in Mazar-i-Sharif, the American University in Kabul and the Kandahar attacks are handed over to Afghan authorities and until Islamabad takes concrete action against Afghan Taliban militants on Pakistani soil,” Minapal had quoted Ghani as saying.

Sadiq, however, claimed that Ghani assured the speaker he would visit Pakistan once Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif paid a reciprocal visit to Afghanistan.

The Afghan president last paid an official visit to Pakistan in Dec 2015 for the Heart of Asia moot.

Sadiq added that former Afghan president Hamid Karzai and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah will be visiting Pakistan soon.

“When [Afghanistan’s] parliamentary delegation comes we will talk to them about our soldiers being attacked [in Chaman],” Sadiq added.

Sadiq said that Pakistan has started fencing its borders and over 1,000 posts have been established. He urged Afghanistan to co-operate in order to improve border security.

The speaker said that once border fencing was complete, neither side would have any complaints.

Earlier this week, at least nine people were killed and over 40 others injured as Afghan border forces opened fire on security personnel guarding a census team in Balochistan’s Chaman area.

At least 50 Afghan security personnel were killed and another 100 injured as Pakistani forces retaliated to unprovoked firing by Afghan border forces in Chaman, Inspector General (IG) Frontier Corps (FC) Balochistan Maj Gen Nadeem Anjum said on Sunday.

He added, however, that “we are not happy over their losses since they are our Muslim brothers”.