- Prime Minister Nawaz meets Afghan President Ghani in Davos, discusses Charsadda attack with him
- Gen Raheel telephones Afghan president, demands Kabul’s cooperation in apprehending terrorist masterminds based in Afghanistan
As Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Davos, Switzerland on Thursday, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif on Thursday telephoned President Ghani and Afghan Chief Executive Dr Abdullah Abdullah to share details on the masterminds of the Charsadda University attack, and ask for their cooperation in apprehending them.
An ISPR statement said that during his telephonic conversations with both the Afghan leaders, the COAS asked for their cooperation in locating and targeting those responsible for this heinous act and bringing them to justice.
The statement quoted Gen Sharif as telling the Afghan leaders that the investigations and leads so far had revealed that Charsadda terror attack had been controlled from a location in Afghanistan.
“COAS called Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Chief Executive Dr Abdullah Abdullah and Commander Resolute support Mission in Afghanistan, General John Campbell & shared details with them. The COAS asked for their cooperation in locating & targeting those responsible for this heinous act and bring them to justice,” the statement added.
On the contrary, an official handout released by the Prime Minister’s office did not carry any hint that the matter had been taken up by the premier during his meeting with Dr Ghani and US Vice President Joe Biden.
“Meeting took place among Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, US Vice President Joe Biden and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at Davos, Switzerland today. Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar and US Secretary of State John Kerry were also present in the meeting. The meeting took place in a warm and cordial atmosphere,” the statement said.
“U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani condemned the Charsadda terror attack and conveyed their sorrow and grief over the incident to the prime minister. Both the leaders appreciated the resolve of Pakistani nation in its war against terrorism and extremism,” the statement added.
“The participants of the meeting reviewed the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan that is being pursued on the establishment of the quadrilateral mechanism that resulted from the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process. All the leaders expressed satisfaction at the two meetings of the Quadrilateral Consultative Groups held in Kabul and Islamabad. They agreed to keep focus on the goal of ensuring peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan which was both in the interest of Afghanistan and the region,” the handout concluded.
Another handout released later in the night by the PM’s Office stated that “Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is in regular contact with officials concerned regarding progress of investigation related to Charsadda terror attack and is monitoring the situation.”
In the statement, a spokesperson for the PM said Nawaz had been briefed about the details, background of this attack and related information.
“Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reiterated that the cowardly acts were the manifestation of growing frustration and weakness of terror groups who had lost their infrastructure due to the success of Operation Zarb-e-Azb. The prime minister also consulted Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif and it was agreed that every effort would be made to find out the perpetrators of this act,” the statement by the spokesperson said.
“The COAS pursuing to this consultation has contacted the Afghan leadership to seek help in identifying and eliminating perpetrators of this terror attack,” the spokesperson said.
Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid and Foreign Office Spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah were unavailable for comment despite repeated calls and texts.
Talking to Pakistan Today, Ambassador (r) Rustam Shah Mohmand said that it was not possible that the prime minister had not taken up the matter with Dr Ghani during his meeting.
“The prime minister might have taken up the matter but it could have been overlooked in the press statement. But one needs to understand that Dr Ghani is not in a position to help round up the perpetrators of the attack,” he said.
Mohmand, who is also an expert on Afghan issues, said that the influence of the Afghan government was limited to urban areas.
“Pakistan believes that there is an organised government in Afghanistan which is not true. Over 50 per cent of the area is under insurgency. Taliban have sway in around 26 provinces while three provinces are divided between Taliban and Daesh,” he said.
He said that during 2015, 10,000 recorded attacks were made by insurgents across Afghanistan, which proves that Dr Ghani’s government had no control.
“If Nangarhar is only 35 kilometres away from Peshawar, the TTP or Daesh can facilitate an attack in Charsadda as both have bases there. Moreover, various on the run TTP factions might also attack as they have the political, tribal and geographic space to do it,” he added.
Mohmand said that it is farfetched to assume that RAW or the Afghan intelligence, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), might have assisted in the attack.
“We should move forward keeping in view the ground realities. We need to adopt realistic approach while dealing with the Afghan issue,” he added.
PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira also believed that the prime minister has to be in the forefront to lead Pakistan’s cause in diplomatic issues.
“This matter might have been discussed with Dr Ghani. Keeping in view the sensitivity of the situation, this matter should have been raised by the prime minister during the meeting,” he concluded.