Pakistan summons Afghan envoy over fatal cross-border firing

A Pakistani solider stands guard overlooking the Khyber Pass on the Pakistani border with Afghanistan. Photograph:( Getty )

PTI Islamabad Jun 15, 2016, 12.41 PM (IST)
Pakistan's Foreign secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhary summoned the Afghan ambassador to Pakistan Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal and lodged "strong protest" over the killing of Major Ali Jawad Khan, Foreign Office (FO) said in a statement.

Khan was injured on June 13 due to what Pakistan claims to be an unprovoked firing by Afghan security forces over the contentious fencing issue at the North-Western Torkham border crossing. He died of injuries yesterday.

The foreign secretary also asked Afghanistan to take immediate steps to bring the "unprovoked firing" to an end.

Chaudhary expressed concern over the continued firing by the Afghan forces for last few days with a view to disrupt the construction work aimed at strengthening effective border management.

The foreign secretary stressed that the Pakistani side was only undertaking construction work on its side to regulate the movement of people as well as vehicles, with prior agreement of the Afghan Government.

He rejected Afghanistan's allegations that the construction work undertaken by Pakistan violated the agreements and understandings reached between the two countries.

It was reiterated that this construction work is being undertaken on the Pakistani side, and was started after the two sides had agreed on it during the meetings held last month.

Underscoring the importance of border management for strengthening mutual security and checking infiltration of terrorists and militants, Chaudhary emphasised the need for resolving this issue through constructive engagement, FO said.

In the firing between security forces, an Afghan border guard was killed while two Pakistani soldiers and nine civilians were injured. One of the injured soldiers has died.

Pakistan alleged that "unprovoked" firing was started by Afghanistan's security forces when construction work began on a new gate on the Pakistani side.

Last month, the border crossing was sealed for several days over the construction of the gate, causing incovenience to thousands of people who cross it every day.

The Afghan government does not recognise the border, which is also known as Durand Line, and it opposes permanent structure.