Pak ‘disappointed’ over Afghan behaviour: FO

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India willing to share Mumbai attack evidence

Islamabad—The Foreign Office on Friday expressed disappointment over the “unhelpful statements” made by the Afghan leadership and termed it “complete disregard to the efforts that Pakistan has made for peace and stability in Afghanistan”.
Foreign Office’s statement was in response to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s earlier call to involve India in transit trade with Afghanistan.
“We have noted with disappointment the unhelpful statements made by Afghan leadership in complete disregard to the efforts that Pakistan has made and continues to make for peace and stability in Afghanistan,” Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria told reporters in the federal capital.
“We remain committed to lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan,” he said, adding that Pakistan firmly believes that peace in Afghanistan was in its interest and necessary for stability and progress of the region.
“Our efforts for peace, stability and economic progress are a matter of our commitment to brotherly people of Afghanistan — millions of whom have been hosted in Pakistan for past 37 years,” he maintained.
Ghani, during a meeting with the UK’s special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Owen Jenkins in Kabul last week, had threatened to block Pakistan’s trade access to Central Asian States (CAS) if it did not allow Afghanistan to trade with India through the Wagah border.
The foreign office spokesperson said that under a transit trade agreement between the two countries, Pakistan was extending all services for transit of Afghan exports and imports through Pakistan’s ports. “We have also been facilitating the transit of Afghan fruits to India through Wagah.”
Pakistan’s security forces were engaged in a “valiant fight against terrorism. Their efforts are making an immense contribution to securing the porous border to help bring lasting peace to Afghanistan, and the region”, said Zakaria.
But Pakistan remained concerned that “Afghan soil was being increasingly used by a ‘neighbour’ for subversive activities inside Pakistan and terror financing”, he added.
Zakaria said it was important for both Pakistan and Afghanistan to closely work together for peace, progress and stability of the region.
“It requires a strong commitment for not letting our territories be used against each other. Pakistan is abiding by this solemn commitment,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Office also said India has expressed its readiness to share material evidence regarding the Mumbai attacks with Pakistan.
“In reply to the Foreign Secretary of Pakistan’s letter, dated September 8, 2015, the Indian Foreign Secretary, in his letter of September 6, 2016, has expressed India’s readiness to share the material evidence, which Pakistan had been seeking for quite some time for the Mumbai trial,” said Nafees Zakaria, spokesperson for the Foreign Office. The spokesperson added that the material evidence and cross examination of prosecution witnesses is needed to proceed further with the trial in Pakistan as per the law of the land.
“Legal aspects and modalities of the proposal contained in the Indian Foreign Secretary’s letter are current being examined by our legal experts,” elaborated Zakaria.
Earlier in August, the arrest of an alleged financier of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks has been termed a breakthrough in the otherwise stalled case, but it may delay the conclusion of the trial pending in an anti-terrorism court (ATC) since 2009.
In January, Islamabad asked the Indian government to send the 24 witnesses to Pakistan to testify against the seven suspects, including Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the alleged mastermind of the attacks. Lakhvi and the other suspects — Abdul Wajid, Mazhar Iqbal, Hammad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jameel Riaz, Jamil Ahmed and Younus Anjum — are being tried by the ATC in Islamabad.
The prosecution completed the testimony of the 68 Pakistani witnesses earlier this year.