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Sharif govt under fire over Afghan border closure

Sharif govt under fire over Afghan border closure

Mar 08, 2017 - 09:24

PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): Opposition leaders have slammed the Pakistaninfo-icon government’s closure of the main border crossings with Afghanistaninfo-icon as an “unwise and illogical” measure.

While stressing the need for an objective review of the country’s foreign policy, opposition members in the National Assembly also urged the appointment of a full-time foreign minister.

The border blockade, which was temporarily lifted on Tuesday, was not a solution to the menace of terrorism, they believed, asking the government to initiate an immediate engagement with the neighbour.

The border had been sealed in the aftermath of a series of suicide bombings in the country, with the military claiming the attacks were carried out by the militants operating from safe havens in Afghanistan.

Shahida Rehmani of the Pakistan People’s Party said the country was increasingly facing international isolation due to the absence of a full-time foreign minister.

Naeema Kishwar, whose party Jamiat Ulemainfo-icon-i-Islam (JUI-F) is a part of the ruling coalition, also ridiculed the foreign policy. “We don’t have a foreign minister, but do we have a foreign policy?”

She asked: “How is Pakistan carrying out strategic action inside Afghanistan when we made a hue and cry over India’s strategic actions in our country?”

Recent media reports indicated that Pakistani troops had shelled the terrorist camps across the border in Afghanistan. Hideouts were reportedly hit in Nangarhar, Kunar and Kandahar.

The foreign policy must be formulated by parliament, Kishwar said, asking the government to respect the “independence and sovereignty of Afghanistan”.

Federal Minister for States and Frontier Regions Abdul Qadir Baloch said Pakistan never had cordial relations with Afghanistan since the country’s inception in 1947.

The government had been trying to improve the relationship with Afghanistan and even invited President Ashraf Ghani to a briefing at the army headquarters, he added.

PPP’s Shazia Marri accused the Nawaz Sharif administration of contradicting its own stance as the foreign minister and the defence minister had entirely different points of view on the border issue.


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