Pakistan reopens consulate in Afghanistan's Jalalabad

PTI Islamabad, Pakistan Oct 08, 2018, 07.13 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( ANI )

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Pakistan had closed down the Consulate General in Jalalabad on August 30. 

Pakistan reopened its consulate in the key Afghan city of Jalalabad on Monday, over a month after shutting it amidst allegations of interference by the provincial governor in the working of its mission, a media report said. 

Pakistan had closed down the Consulate General in Jalalabad on August 30. 

The Pakistani embassy in Kabul had also urged Afghanistan's ministry of foreign affairs to restrain the Nangarhar provincial governor Hayatullah Hayat from interfering in the mission's affairs.

Hayat has said that no interference has been made in the affairs of Consulate General of Pakistan but steps were taken to improve the visa system in complete coordination with the Consulate General of Pakistan.

The governor of the eastern Afghan province made it clear that disgrace and humiliation was not acceptable to Afghans. The Afghan applicants were asked for Rs 5,000 to Rs 20,000 for a visa and people had lost their patience due to widespread corruption and irregularities, Hayat was quoted as saying by Pajhwok Afghan News last month.

The move to shut down the Pakistani consulate came amidst growing mistrust between the two neighbours that centers on mutual accusations that the other country does not curb deadly cross-border militant attacks.

Thousands of Afghan nationals arrived in Jalalabad to obtain Pakistani visas as the Consulate General resumed operations on Monday, the Express Tribune reported.

Taking to Twitter, Pakistan Foreign Office Spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said the consulate will resume operations after assurances by the Afghan government that the diplomatic office will be provided with necessary security.

"All visa applicants in Jalalabad and surrounding areas within the jurisdiction of the Consulate General could now apply for visa with the Consulate General with effect from Monday 8th October 2018," he wrote on Twitter.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi expressed concern over the closure of the country's consulate in Jalalabad and was assured by his Afghan counterpart of a "positive outcome", the report said. 

Last month, Qureshi requested his Afghan counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani to restore security arrangements allowing the consulate general to resume routine activities.

"The issue of closure of the Pakistan Consulate General in Jalalabad due to a security crisis was also discussed. Qureshi requested the Afghan Government for restoring the previous security arrangements existing till 28th August 2018, so that the Consulate General's normal functioning could be resumed at the earliest," said a Pakistani statement.