Pak blames Afghan refugees for killing Rabbani

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Islamabad: Pakistan has blamed Afghan refugees living in the country for the assassination of former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani and warned Kabul against making it a "scapegoat" for all the ills happening in the war-torn nation.

"We are not responsible if Afghan refugees crossed the border and entered Kabul, stayed in a guest house and attacked Professor Rabbani," Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told the Senate or upper house of parliament during question hour on Tuesday. Afghan officials have said Rabbani`s killing in September was planned in Pakistan and carried out by a Pakistani suicide bomber.

Khar also told the House that Pakistan will have to review its diplomatic policy and relations with Afghanistan in view of its own interests. "Pakistan has baselessly been charged with recent attacks in Kabul. If they have any problem, Pakistan should not be made a scapegoat by the Afghan government and other countries. We are part of the solution, and not part of the problem," she said.

Pakistan should not be blamed for all the ills and criminal acts in Afghanistan, she said while responding to supplementary questions. Afghan refugees living in Pakistan are creating various problems, she added. Kabul recently sent an official delegation to Pakistan to investigate the killing of the Afghan peace envoy. Khar said Pakistan wanted the "best relations with Afghanistan" to ensure peace and stability in the region and to jointly fight extremism and terrorism.

Afghanistan is the most important country for Pakistan as the security of both countries is inter-linked, she said. The minister said Pakistan was in the process of reviewing different aspects of its foreign policy. In reply to a question, Khar said besides the ambassador and three other officials, Pakistan Embassy in Kabul had 36 staff.

Since the threat to the mission had increased after the killing of Rabbani, most of the staff were performing security-related duties, she said. Khar told the House that Pakistan will have to review its diplomatic policy and relations with Afghanistan in view of its own interests.

"If Pakistan considers Afghanistan as a sovereign country, then they should show respect for our independence and sovereignty," she said. She said if Pakistanis were facing problems in getting Afghan visas, then Pakistan would have to change its visa policy for Afghans.

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