AT News Report
KABUL: The Pakistani Embassy in Kabul on Monday announced the closure of its consular section for an indefinite period due to alleged safety and harassment concerns to its diplomatic personnel while the Afghan foreign ministry said it will probe Pakistan’s complaints in this regard.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) protested the summoning of the Afghan Ambassador to Islamabad, Atif Mashal, by Pakistan’s intelligence agency over this issue and objected the entity’s misconduct with the diplomat.
The MoFA stated that Afghan ambassador was summoned by Pakistani intelligence, whereas the neighboring claimed it was the Afghan charge d’affaires in Islamabad.
This came as a statement from the Pakistani embassy on Sunday said it would close the consular services to applicants in Kabul, citing the harassment of its diplomats by some unknown individuals as a reason.
It said the consular would remain close till further orders. “Owing to security reasons, Consular Section of the Embassy of Pakistan, Kabul will be closed from tomorrow, Monday, November 4, until further intimation,” read the press release.
Moreover, in a statement on Sunday, the Pakistani Foreign Office said the Afghan charge d’affaires was summoned and informed that officers and staff of the Pakistani embassy were being harassed over the past few days.
They were obstructed on the road and their vehicles were hit by motorcycles on their way to the embassy, the statement alleged.
In response, the MoFA issued a statement saying it expressed its deepest objection and concern over the summoning of Ambassador Mashal by Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) and the misconduct of the entity’s personnel.
The statement said Afghanistan deemed the action in clear contradiction with diplomatic norms and principles.
“The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, once again calls on the Pakistani Government to align its diplomatic relations with Afghanistan in compliance with international conventions and accepted diplomatic norms,” it added.
Referring to the security concerns of Pakistan which has led to the closure of its consulate section, the statement further added that the Afghan government “shall seriously investigate this claim and provides assurance that the Government of Afghanistan is committed to providing safety to the diplomats of Pakistan, as well as other diplomats in the country.”
This comes as a large number of Afghan visa applicants have expressed concerns about the halt of Pakistani visa issuance process in Kabul.
This is while Pakistan had earlier closed its consular section in eastern Nangarhar a while back.