ISLAMABAD -UNS – Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani telephoned his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Monday and assured if providing fool-proof to Pakistani consulate.
Qureshi also reiterated Pakistan’s commitment towards peace and stability in Afghanistan. Both sides agreed on continued cooperation under Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS) and noted that the framework provided the most comprehensive institutional mechanism to discuss all mutual issues. The two foreign ministers agreed that the next round of APAPPS would be soon held in Islamabad.
Qureshi maintained that peace and prosperity of Pakistan and Afghanistan being close neighbors was interlinked and stressed the need for their close collaboration for lasting regional peace.
Rabbani expressed best wishes of the government and people of Afghanistan for Pakistan and said he looked forward to strengthen Pak-Afghan bilateral relations.
Both also welcomed the holding of joint Pak-Afghan Ulema Conference in Islamabad, the dates for which are being finalised.
The issue of closure of the Pakistan Consulate General in Jalalabad due to a security crisis was also discussed.
Qureshi requested the Afghan Government for restoring the previous security arrangements existing till 28th August 2018, so that the Consulate General’s normal functioning could be resumed at the earliest.
Foreign Minister Rabbani reassured a positive outcome soon in this regard and mentioned his meeting with the Ambassador of Pakistan in Kabul yesterday. Till resolution of the issue, Pakistan in the meantime would continue issuing visas to patients or students residing in the jurisdiction of the Consulate’s as an emergency measure.
Foreign Minister Rabbani also extended an invitation Foreign Minister Qureshi to visit Afghanistan at an early date, which he accepted.
Pakistan closes consulate in Jalalabad
On September 1, Pakistan had temporarily shut down its Consulate General in Jalalabad City in Nangarhar province for an indefinite period to protest local officials’ intervention in activities of the diplomatic office.
Pakistani embassy in Kabul said that the decision has been taken in reaction to provincial governor Hayatullah Hayat’s intervention in activities of the consulate.
“The Embassy of Pakistan in Kabul deeply regrets undue intervention of Governor Hayatullah Hayat in the functioning of the Consulate General of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan in Jalalabad is complete violation of the Vienna Convention of the Consular Relations 1963.”
The embassy said that the Consulate General will remain closed until the security arrangements are completed to the satisfaction of the embassy.
The embassy said it has requested the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs to “kindly refrain the governor from interfering in the functioning of the Consulate General and to ensure restoration of security of the consulate office as it existed on August 28, 2018.”
Howeveron Sunday; after lack of assurance of possible security, the consulate was closed for an indefinite period.
Incident termed misunderstanding
Afghan authorities also met Pakistani officials over the matter and said that the issue was a simple misunderstanding and would be resolved soon.
During the meeting, the authorities had discussed the possible suggestions for security of the Consulate building.
Spokesman for the Afghan Foreign Ministry said thatGovernor’s intervention was a misunderstanding which caused concern among staff at the Pakistani consulate in Jalalabad however, the problem will be solved soon.