Afghan consulate closed after search of diplomat’s vehicle
PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): The Afghan consulate in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Peshawar has been closed as a mark of protest against the search of the consul-general’s vehicle, a well-placed source said.
Consul General Dr. Abdullah Waheed Poyan’s vehicle was searched at a check-post in the high-security cantonment area of the city, signaling a new low in the oft-acrimonious relations between the neighbours.
“The consulate will remain closed for an indefinite period of time. We want a concrete assurance from the host country that Afghan diplomats will not be harassed in the future,” a source in the consulate told Pajhwok Afghan News.
Asked for comments, a senior army official in Peshawar claimed the diplomat’s vehicle violated the specified diplomatic protocol. “And that’s why the car was stopped for a security check,” he argued, insisting harassment of the consul-general was never intended.
There have been testy exchanges between the two nations in recent months, including the closure of their common border at Torkham for three days. However, the frontier was reopened after talks between Chief of Army Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif and Afghan Ambassador Omar Zakhilwal.
Meanwhile, Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria confirmed the closure of the Afghan diplomatic mission. “An official statement on the issue will be released after information is received from the relevant authorities.”
Separately, Pakistani border authorities at Torkham banned the entry of Afghans without legal travel documents from today. Khyber Rifle Force personnel made announcements through loud speakers that nobody would be permitted to enter Pakistan without passports and valid visas.
At different points in Torkham, banners have been displayed warning the Afghans not to enter Pakistan without valid travel documents. The announcement was heard by Afghan border guards and travellers across the Durand Line.
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