Foreign Office says matter has been taken up with Canadian government, which has been urged to address the ‘malicious smear campaign’
The Foreign Office early on Monday morning lashed out at a former Canadian minister, claiming his comments on social media targeting Pakistan’s role in the Afghan peace process betrayed a “complete lack of understanding of the issue.”
In a statement issued on Twitter, spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said Pakistan “strongly” condemned the “unwarranted” comments of former Canadian minister Chris Alexander. “Such remarks betray a complete lack of understanding of the issue, as well as ignorance of facts on the ground,” he said.
Alexander, who served as Canada’s immigration minister from 2013-2015, has repeatedly criticized Pakistan’s role in the Afghan conflict, accusing Islamabad of supporting and funding the Taliban. On Sunday, he once again targeted Pakistan for condemnation, posting a picture on Twitter that he claimed showed Taliban fighters massing on the Pak-Afghan border ahead of crossing over into Afghanistan. “Anyone still denying Pakistan is engaged in an ‘act of aggression’ against Afghanistan is complicit in proxy war and war crimes,” he added.
Independent experts have claimed the picture he posted was taken from the Afghan side of the border.
In its rejoinder the Foreign Office said that it was unfortunate for Alexander to issue such commentary during a particularly precarious situation in Afghanistan. “Now, when the world has acknowledged what Pakistan P.M. Imran Khan has consistently maintained about there being no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and the need for an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement, such gratuitous commentary is deplorable,” said the spokesperson.
“The matter has been taken up with the Canadian side,” he said. “We have urged the Canadian authorities to take steps to address this motivated and malicious smear campaign,” he added.