ISLAMABAD : Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and his Afghan counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani on Monday agreed to continue cooperation for working together to achieve lasting regional peace
“Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani called Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and congratulated him on his appointment as foreign minister,” a Foreign Office statement read.
Rabbani also extended an invitation to Qureshi to visit Kabul at an early date, which he accepted, the statement added.
The Afghan foreign minister also said that he looked forward to strengthening Pak-Afghan bilateral relations.
While thanking his Afghan counterpart, Qureshi reiterated that peace and prosperity of the two countries are interlinked and highlighted the need to work together to achieve lasting regional peace.
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).
“Both sides appreciated recent improvement in relations since the launch of APAPPS process in May 2018. It was noted that the framework provided the most comprehensive institutional mechanism to discuss all mutual issues. The two leaders agreed that the next round of APAPPS will be held soon in Islamabad. They also welcomed the holding of joint Pak-Afghan Ulema Conference in Islamabad, the dates for which are being finalised,” the FO statement read.
The issue of closure of the Pakistan Consulate General in Jalalabad due to a security crisis was also discussed.
Qureshi requested the Afghan government to restore the previous security arrangements so that the consulate general’s normal functioning could be resumed at the earliest, the statement said.
The Afghan foreign minister reassured a positive outcome soon in this regard and mentioned his meeting with the ambassador of Pakistan in Kabul on Sunday.
Till the issue is resolved, Pakistan will issue visas to patients or students residing in the jurisdiction of the consulate as an emergency measure, the statement added.
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.”
However on Sunday; after lack of assurance of possible security, the consulate was closed for an indefinite period.
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 that Governor’s intervention was a misunderstanding which caused concern among staff at the Pakistani consulate in Jalalabad however, the problem will be solved soon.