Pakistan expresses hope for peaceful Afghan elections

Shah Mahmood Qureshi spoke to his Afghan counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani over the phone on Friday. (Photo courtesy: Foreign Office)
Updated 20 October 2018

Pakistan expresses hope for peaceful Afghan elections

  • Qureshi reassured Pakistan’s complete support for the Afghan democratic process
  • Afghanistan is holding election for the lower house of parliament, on Saturday

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said he hopes parliamentary elections will be held in a peaceful environment throughout Afghanistan.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi spoke to his Afghan counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani over the phone on Friday.
Pakistan’s foreign minister told Rabbani “these elections are an important landmark for the strengthening of democracy in the country, which remains the key to achieving sustainable peace and progress in Afghanistan,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued on Friday evening.
Qureshi also reassured Rabbani about Pakistan’s complete support for the Afghan democratic process.
Afghanistan is holding an election for the lower house of parliament, known as the Wolesi Jirga under tight security.
“Thanking the Foreign Minister for his support, FM Rabbani briefed Mr. Qureshi about the difficulties being faced by the Afghan government in holding the upcoming elections in Afghanistan in a successful manner,” Pakistan’s Foreign Office statement said, quoting Rabbani.
The statement added: “Mr. Rabbani also expressed the hope that both countries would continue to work together in pursuing peace and an end to the decades-old conflict in Afghanistan.”
Early on Friday Pakistan, on the request of the Kabul government, closed the gates along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border for two days.
The decision to shut down the crossings along the Chaman and Torkham border was taken to help Kabul conduct its parliamentary elections seamlessly.


Pakistan army denies reports of joint border patrols with Iran

Updated 09 December 2019

Pakistan army denies reports of joint border patrols with Iran

  • Patrolling operations on respective sides are conducted by respective forces, military spokesman says
  • Last month, army chief visited Tehran for security talks

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan army spokesperson on Monday rejected media reports suggesting that Pakistani and Iranian security forces conducted joint border patrolling.
“News published by Dawn today ('Pak-Iran Forces jointly conduct border patrolling') is factually incorrect,” Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, said in a tweet.
He added that “there is no joint patrolling anywhere on Pakistani borders” as “patrolling operations if required are always on respective sides by respective forces through coordination.”

The English-language daily reported earlier on the day that Pakistan and Iran had conducted another joint patrol on the border near Taftan town in Chagai district, Balochistan.
Soon after Ghafoor's comment, Dawn's editor Zaffar Abbas clarified that “the confusion was caused by the official news agency APP, as the picture caption said ‘joint patrolling.’ Radio Pak also tweeted the same. But we will be carrying out correction in light of your statement.”

Border security has long been a major cause of distrust in Pakistan-Iran relations. 
In April, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced that the two countries would form a joint quick-reaction force to combat militant activity on their shared border, following a deadly attack on Pakistani security personnel on the coastal highway in southwestern Balochistan, where 14 soldiers lost their lives.
On Nov. 18, Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Tehran for security talks with Iran's political leadership and military leadership.
In May this year, Pakistan began the fencing of certain areas along the 950-kilometer border it shares with Iran.