Pakistani Consulate closes in Afghanistan
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 wishes to inform that the Consulate General will remain closed until the security arrangements are complete to the satisfaction of the embassy,” said the letter.
According to the press statement issued by the embassy, it has requested the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan “to kindly refrain from interfering in the functioning of the Consulate General and to ensure restoration of the security of the Consulate General as it existed on August 28, 2018”. Pakistan has said that the meddling into the affairs of the embassy is a “complete violation of the Vienna Convention of the Consular Relation 1963”. Nangarhar is the province which has had the highest no. of casualties and attacks by Taliban and ISIS insurgents in recent times.
Afghan officials, notorious for blaming Pakistan for supporting the terrorist attacks, have largely been incapable of controlling the insurgency in the region. Despite the blaming was covert the Afghan officials actively manipulated the extremists activities to veil their lack of control in their country. Recently the Information minister of Afghanistan bluntly alleged the top generals of the Pakistan Army behind the attack on Ghazni city. “Pakistan and Pakistan’s military was involved in the plan to attack Ghazni; Pakistan provided all sufficient aid to them and it’s very clear,” said Moi spokesman Najib Danish.
Governor Hayatullah Hayat rejected the allegations he was interfering in the internal matters of the Pakistani consulate and accused the foreign mission of insulting Afghans and illegally charging money for processing their visas.
“We were not happy with activities of the Pakistani consulate in Jalalabad. According to our information, the consulate was charging 5,000 ($40) to 20,000 ($160) Pakistani rupees from Afghans for processing their visas,” he told a news conference in the provincial capital.”
“We won’t interfere in the internal matters of the consulate. But we also won’t allow anyone to dishonor Afghans outside the consulate and encourage bribes,” Hayat said. Pakistan and Afghanistan issue free of charge visas to each other’s citizens.
Hundreds of Afghans line up every day outside the Jalalabad consulate to get Pakistani visas, and a large number of them had gathered Saturday, officially a working day in Afghanistan, as they were unaware of the abrupt closure of the facility.
The statement was ferociously condemned by Pakistan embassy in Afghanistan as baseless and demeaning to the relations between both the countries. The security situation in Jalalabad has been critical over the years. In 2013, the Indian consulate in Jalalabad came under attack. Afghan security forces spotted the attackers as they approached the consulate in a car leading to one of the attackers detonating his explosives.
The controversy is another reflection of Pakistan’s strained ties with Afghanistan. The two uneasy neighbors share a nearly 2,600-kilometer, largely porous border and each accuses the other of supporting militant attacks against them.
Pak-Afghan relations in post-Taliban era are a narration of mistrust. Despite Pakistan’s efforts to maintain good neighborly relations, it is being blamed for chaotic situation in Afghanistan, providing safe havens for miscreants in FATA, sponsoring terrorism and suicide bombing in the latter. On the other hand, Pakistan is also suspicious of Afghanistan’s India-centric policies, which results in insurgency and unrest in FATA, Balochistan and different parts of the country.
Despite several commonalities and both being allies in the war against terrorism, the trust gap however is so broad that both the countries cannot decipher their disagreements bilaterally. Resultantly, both have become a recipe of never ending violence and allowing regional powers to interfere in their affairs and exploit the situation to their own advantage. Pak-Afghan relations cannot afford mistrust and hostility, which has repeatedly caused negative repercussions on their relations
Evidently, negotiations are the only way out for the sustainable peace in Afghanistan which ultimately leads to the peace for the entire region. Pakistan has repeatedly said that it is willing to provide whatever service needed which will ensure peace for both the countries. Pakistan has also pursued the rapid fencing of its Durand line with Afghanistan to stop the illegal movement of insurgents through the border. But it is clear that the trust is lacking from both the sides.
Despite the continuous efforts and visits from civil and military officials of both the countries, the relations between the countries have yet to sustainably improve. In bilateral relations cooperation without sufficient trust is possible which can be converted into full cooperation and win-win situation by employing the right strategies and by conducting an open dialogue. Skirmishes like interfering with the security of the Pakistani consulate and its matters are petty ways that strain the Pak-Afghan relations and there is dire need to avoid them.