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13 December 2017 Last updated 26 minutes ago

Afghan president may visit Pakistan despite border attack: Sadiq

National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq

Despite the recent border clash, National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq said on Sunday that Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was likely to visit Pakistan.

“He [Ashraf Ghani] has told me that he will come to Islamabad once Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visits Kabul,” Sadiq told reporters.

“Former president Hamid Karzai and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah have also assured me they would arrive here,” he added.

On Friday, at least 10 people, including women, children and a Frontier Corps (FC) man, were killed and 47 others injured after Afghan border forces resorted to ‘unprovoked’ firing at Pakistani troops guarding a census team.

In response, Inspector General FC Major General Nadeem Ahmed told the media on Sunday, Pakistani forces had targeted Afghan security check-posts, killing 50 people and injuring 100.

On May 4, the president’s deputy spokesperson Dawa Khan Mina Pal said the Afghan president had declined an invitation by Director General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar and parliamentarians to visit the Pakistan.

“I will not go to Pakistan until the perpetrators behind the attacks on Mazar-e-Sharif, the American University in Kabul and Kandahar, are handed over to Afghanistan,” Mina Pal had quoted Ghani as saying.

Sadiq had led an unprecedented 17-member delegation of top leaders from both houses of the parliament to Afghanistan on the invitation of the Afghan president with an aim to lower tensions between the two neighbouring countries.

“Once the Afghan parliamentary delegation comes, we will talk about why our forces were attacked in Chaman [despite the earlier meeting],” Sadiq remarked.

The National Assembly speaker said Ghani had told him during a meeting in Afghanistan that his government had no control over 50 per cent of the country and the Taliban and Islamic State militants were only few kilometres away from them.

Pakistan will respond instantly, effectively to border violations: Khawaja Asif

“We have to move forward and improve bilateral ties as there can be no peace in Pakistan without peace in Afghanistan,” Sadiq maintained. “We have also asked the Afghan side to cooperate with us in border fencing to stop cross-border movement once and for all,” he added.