Monday, Mar 27, 2017

Nawaz orders immediate reopening of Pak-Afghan border

ISLAMABAD (APP): Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday ordered that Pakistan-Afghanistan border be re-opened immediately.

The order was issued as a gesture of goodwill, as the two countries enjoy religious, cultural and historical relations, a statement issued by the Prime Minister House said.

PM Nawaz said in the statement that recent incidents of terrorism in Pakistan have been traced back to anti-Pakistan elements in Afghanistan. The premier, however, expressed hope that the Afghan government would take measures to address the reasons due to which the border was closed.

The PM said that Pakistan has reiterated time and again that lasting peace in Afghanistan is imperative for peace and security in Pakistan. Pakistan would continue to work with Afghanistan to eliminate the menace of terrorism from the two countries, the PM statement added.

Pakistan had sealed its border with Afghanistan for an 'indefinite period' owing to security concerns following the deadly suicide bombing at Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in Sindh last month, in which over 80 people lost their lives and over 250 were injured. The attack on the shrine in Sehwan city of Sindh was part of a deadly wave of terror attacks in the country, and the fifth blast in less than a week targeting innocent people.

However, earlier in March, Pakistan temporarily opened its border crossings at Torkham and Chaman to allow Afghan nationals stranded in Pakistan to return to their country.

Pakistani authorities have repeatedly voiced concerns over terrorist sanctuaries in Afghanistan, from where majority of the attacks during February were believed to be coordinated. Last month, Pakistani diplomatic officials summoned the Afghan deputy head of mission to the Foreign Office to convey their concerns over continuing attacks by terrorist outfit Jamaat-ul-Ahrar from its sanctuaries inside Afghanistan. 

Pakistan Armed Forces also carried out multiple strikes across the border targeting terrorist hideouts in the aftermath of the Sehwan shrine blast.

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