The government on Friday said that the violent clashes which took place at the Chaman border a day earlier came after “unprovoked fire” by Afghan forces.
“Afghan forces opened unprovoked fire on innocent civilians gathered towards Pakistan’s side of the international border,” read a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
According to the statement, Pakistan troops which were deployed on the posts by the Friendship Gate “were also simultaneously engaged by Afghan posts”.
The Foreign Office clarified that Pakistan’s security forces “responded to protect our local population and acted only in self-defence”.
“It is reiterated that Pakistan [forces] did not open fire first and responded in self-defence only,” said the FO statement.
It further stated that the Pakistani side “immediately activated both military and diplomatic channels” in order to de-escalate the situation and it was after hectic efforts that the firing from the Afghan side came to a halt.
The statement underlined that the Afghan borders were opened for pedestrian movement and trade, “upon the request of the Afghan authorities”.
“Pakistan is undertaking concerted efforts to ensure regulated movement of trade between the two countries, which are being challenged by elements opposed to such regulation,” it noted.
It said that owing to Eid ul Adha “pedestrians’ move [sic] was also allowed”.
“People gathered for this purpose were deliberately targeted by Afghan forces for incomprehensible reasons,” the FO said.
“This unfortunate incident resulted in numerous casualties and deliberate/serious damage to State infrastructure on the Pakistan side. There were, reportedly, unfortunate losses on the Afghan side as well. All this could have been avoided if fire had not been initiated from the Afghan side,” the statement observed.
The FO said that despite the unfortunate incident, “Pakistan reiterates its sincere readiness to further enhance fraternal relations with Afghanistan in the interest of peace and stability in the region”.
“We hope our constructive efforts will be reciprocated,” the statement concluded by saying.