Pakistani consulate in Herat suspends service amid coronavirus threat

In this file photo, Afghan security personnel stand guard in front of the Pakistan embassy in Kabul on May 10, 2016. (AFP)
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Updated 15 March 2020

Pakistani consulate in Herat suspends service amid coronavirus threat

  • The consulate will suspend services for at least two weeks, starting Sunday
  • Emergency was declared in Herat after the first case of coronavirus was confirmed on Feb. 24

PESHAWAR: The Pakistani Embassy in Kabul will temporarily shut its consulate in Herat on Sunday over coronavirus threats in the Afghan province bordering Iran, officials confirmed to Arab News.
“We will keep our consulate in Herat shut temporarily for 15 days, effective from March 8,” Muhammad Hassan Wazir, deputy chief of mission at Pakistan’s Embassy in Kabul, said on Thursday. He added that the ongoing coronavirus crisis in Iran had prompted the decision.
According to reports on Thursday, Pakistan itself has already recorded six infections since the first one was confirmed last week.
The Pakistani Embassy in Kabul said in a statement that it “would continue to monitor the situation and would consult with Afghan government before taking a decision on resumption of visa services.”
Hikmat Safi, adviser to Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), confirmed that Pakistan had announced the closure of its consulate in Herat, as Afghan authorities suspect 80 persons might have contracted the disease.
The persons returned from neighboring Iran, where 3,513 cases and 107 deaths have been reported.
Safi said the situation is expected to become more complicated as Iran started to deport Afghan refugees.
“The move to close the Herat consulate will only multiply problems of Afghans, seeking Pakistani visas. Officials of the two countries should adopt other preemptive measures to counter the fast-spreading virus instead of closing the consulate,” Safi said.
A state of emergency was declared in Herat after the first case of coronavirus was confirmed on Feb. 24.


CPEC development projects facing threat from India — Pakistani military

Updated 03 December 2020

CPEC development projects facing threat from India — Pakistani military

  • Major General Babar Iftikhar says much of the 'fake news' against the security institutions of the country can be traced back to Indian social media accounts
  • The military spokesperson warns the international community that any change to the balance of power in South Asia will be 'disastrous' for everyone

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's military spokesperson, Major General Babar Iftikhar, said on Thursday that India had ratcheted up its anti-Pakistan campaign in military, diplomatic, information and economic spheres since it was fearful of Pakistan's positive trajectory and considered the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a threat to itself.
In an interview to a local online publication, he said that CPEC was not just about "north-south connectivity" to consolidate the interests of Beijing and Islamabad but also sought to integrate the whole region and make Pakistan its economic hub.
"Somewhere Indians decided that there is a timeline beyond which this project becomes irreversible," he told Global Village Space. "They feel that the progress of this project must be retarded as much as possible so that it doesn't cross that timeline and can somehow be reversed."
The military spokesperson said that the security threat around the corridor project had increased, though he also maintained that Islamabad had provided the world sufficient evidence of India's sponsorship of terrorism through a newly unveiled dossier that was "taken very seriously by the international community."
Asked if Pakistan had taken up the issue of Indian terror training camps in Afghanistan with the administration in Kabul, he said: "We have always acknowledged that the Afghan government has capacity issues. That is also the reason why we never really blamed them for what is happening from the Afghan soil. However, we keep sharing such information with them — it's a regular thing — and have also shared the information in the dossier at appropriate levels."
Iftikhar maintained that India had launched a disinformation campaign against Pakistan, saying that much of the "fake news" against the country and its security institutions could be traced back to Indian social media accounts.
"It is a major challenge, especially what is happening on social media," he said. "However, the best way to handle this is transparency, the best way to handle this is to not leave any information voids, the best way to handle this is to pass on credible information, and that is exactly what we are trying to do here."
"Pakistan is subjected to the fifth-generation warfare and we are aware of that," he continued.
Asked about India's military spending and its recent defense deal with the United States, the military spokesperson said: "The international community has to understand that any major disturbance in balance of power in South Asia will not only be a major disaster for the region but also for the rest of the world. This balance of power must be maintained at every level. The more it is disturbed the more it gets dangerous."