Three killed as troops open fire at rally in Pakistan

Three killed as troops open fire at rally in Pakistan”

Mohammad Aref Noorzai, an Afghan lawmaker from Kandahar province, said the clashes began when Pakistani forces opened fire at Afghan protesters on the border.

The Pakistani forces "acted only in self-defence", a statement read. It is reiterated that Pakistan Force did not open fire first and responded in self-defence only'.

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 demonstrators mainly workers from the Pashtun minority trying to get to Afghanistan for work had rallied near the crossing, demanding authorities lift the months-long closure of the border-related to measures meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The crossing, mostly closed to pedestrians during the COVID-19 pandemic, was briefly opened on Wednesday and was to open again Thursday to allow nationals of both countries to cross for Eid, which falls on Friday in Afghanistan and Saturday in Pakistan. People gathered for this objective were deliberately targeted by Afghan forces for incomprehensible reasons'.

"This unfortunate incident resulted in numerous casualties and deliberate/serious damage to state infrastructure on the Pakistan side", the Pakistan ministry said.

When it did not open, a large crowd gathered to protest, and a quarantine centre and a Pakistani government facility for processing movement at the crossing were burned down, a Pakistani official at the border told Reuters.

Afghan Defence Ministry spokesman Fawad Aman said on Facebook that "attacks by the Pakistani military on Afghan soil on Thursday" had killed nine civilians and wounded 50 others.

"Pakistan reiterates its honest 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, said the FO spokesperson. The Chaman border crossing in Balochistan was closed due to coronavirus outbreak, leaving more than 100,000 people in the area jobless.

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Addressing a news conference on Friday, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz said that "we retaliated after our posts" at the Chaman border with Afghanistan were targeted.

They exchanged fire when crowds waiting to cross into Afghanistan became unruly and attacked Pakistani installations, a Pakistani official said.

"They tried to cross into Afghanistan by force and also damaged our posts, and unfortunately at the same time shots were fired from the other side".

Faraz said another basic reason for the tension is that smuggling is affected when the border is closed.

Faraz described Afghanistan as a landlocked country, saying that important items reach Afghanistan through "our border".

KABUL/QUETTA, Pakistan Afghanistan accused Pakistan on Friday of killing 15 civilians during clashes at a border crossing where crowds were jostling to cross for the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. He reiterated Pakistan, like in the past, would continue extending cooperation to Kabul on this count.

The protesters also tried to stage a protest outside the hospital but they were dispersed by security forces firing teargas shells.

The whole of Chaman gave a curfew-like look as the security forces cordoned off of all the areas in an attempt to avoid further protests by the traders.

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