Closure of Jalalabad Consulate

PAKISTAN closed its consulate in Jalalabad the other day, citing security concerns and undue intervention by Nangarhar Governor Hayatullah Hayat in the functioning of the Consulate General. Calling the intervention of Governor Hayatullah Hayat a complete violation of the Vienna Convention of the Consular Relations 1963, Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul asked the Afghan authorities to honour the diplomatic privileges enjoyed by the Consulate under international treaties.
Indeed this is an unfortunate incident, which will not augur well for the bilateral relations already marred by misunderstand and mistrust. Therefore, it is important that both the sides engage immediately and address each other’s concerns so that the Consulate could resume its operations again. According to Afghan media, Governor Hayat had tried to coerce Pakistani staff to change the visa issuance system that he alleged was causing inconvenience to public. Then the demolition of a security wall by the Afghan authorities also upset the Pakistani side. Firstly, if the Afghan Provincial Governor had any complaints about visa issuance system, he should have contacted his Foreign Ministry to take up the matter with Pakistan’s embassy in Kabul. He had no authority to directly interfere in the working of the Consulate and then also coerce them in complete disregard of diplomatic norms. Then ensuring security of the consulate is also responsibility of the Afghan government and demolition of its wall amounted to exposing the Consulate Office to security risks. We hope that better sense will prevail in Afghanistan and their authorities will refrain from such steps that further fan misunderstanding in relations. Rather, there is need that both the sides sit together to remove all the irritants in relations as better relations between the two neighbouring countries are of great significance to achieve the objectives of peace and stability in the region.
The first telephonic conversation between Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Prime Minister Imran Khan in which they agreed to overcome the past and to lay a new foundation for a prosperous political, social and economic future of both countries was very positive in tone, and there is need to take forward this spirit to build a robust partnership.

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