Sheikh Rashid says Silsila was
not abducted, facts were different

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ISLAMABAD: Giving details from government’s point of view, the Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed said on Tuesday that the investigation conducted by the Pakistani authorities found no evidence of abduction in the Afghan ambassador’s daughter’s incident.

“According to our investigation, the incident involving the daughter of the Afghan ambassador is not a case of kidnapping,” said the interior minister in a press conference. He also lamented that Kabul should not have recalled its envoy over a single case.

“The government will fight the case of daughter of the Afghan ambassador [but] our investigation shows that this was not a kidnapping case,” said Rasheed. He added that the girl changed taxis four times and no man sat in any of the taxis during her journey.

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid addressing a press conference in Rawalpindi.

The interior minister hoped that the Afghan ambassador would become part of the investigation, adding that the government registered the case itself.

Sheikh Rashid accused Kabul and New Delhi of trying to distort the facts related to the “abduction” of the daughter of Afghanistan’s ambassador to Pakistan, reiterating that it was not a kidnapping to begin with and is part of a series of attempts to defame and destabilise Pakistan.

Afghan envoy Najibullah Alikhil’s daughter, Silsila Alikhil, was allegedly kidnapped and subsequently released on Friday from Islamabad’s commercial hub by unidentified persons, who, reportedly, also subjected her to torture.

According to the victim’s statement, she was returning home in the afternoon in a taxi after visiting a bakery in Islamabad’s Blue Area when the driver picked up another man, who verbally abused and assaulted her. She was later dropped in an unconscious condition by the taxi driver on a roadside. Her medical report said she had been physically assaulted.

Sheikh Rashid denied that the taxi drivers had picked up another man during the course of Silsila’s rides, maintaining that no evidence of her abduction was found during the investigation.

Silsila Alikhil

“No man sat in any taxi and according to our investigation, this is not an abduction case,” he said as he repeated his earlier stance. “However, Afghans, [who are] our brothers, and Indians are trying to twist the facts.”

He added that conspiracies were also being hatched to cause misunderstandings between Pakistan and China, and create a law and order situation.

“Certain international powers don’t want Pakistan and China’s friendship [to flourish], and hence, they perpetrated actions such as the Dasu [bus tragedy],” the interior minister alleged.

“Look at their timing. [Johar Town blast] was perpetrated just a day before the FATF [Financial Action Task Force] [meeting]4, the Dasu incident took place right before the JCC [Joint Coordination Committee] meeting [of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor] and the incident involving Afghan envoy’s daughter took place just days before the Afghan peace conference.”

Terming these incidents a part of “hybrid warfare” against Pakistan, Rashid said “efforts are being made to give a [false] impression to the rest of the world that the security situation in Pakistan is not good.”

The minister further said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has instructed the inspector generals and security agencies to closely monitor the security situation in the country.

He added that despite the findings of the investigation and Silisila’s claim being starkly different, a first information report (FIR) of the case had been registered and the state would fight the case on her behalf even though she has left the country.

“We have completed our investigation, but [since] we respect her [Silisla’s stance], we have registered an FIR,” Rashid said, adding that he hoped she would soon become a part of the investigation.

Replying to a question, the minister said the footage pertaining to the case had been sent to the Foreign Office and now it was their responsibility to inform Afghan diplomats about the situation, adding that the fourth taxi driver involved in the investigation had also been traced.

He maintained that none of the taxi drivers involved in the investigation had a past criminal record that indicated their involvement in the abduction. “This is all an effort to malign the image of Pakistan,” Rashid said, adding that as per the prime minister’s directives, the probe of the case was completed within 48 hours and the findings were sent to the FO and the PM House.

Replying to a question, he said the government planned to make the diplomatic enclave in Islamabad a special security zone after Eid holidays.

To another question about the situation in Afghanistan, he said it was the neighbouring country’s internal matter and Pakistan would accept whatever the Afghans decide. “The policy of the Pakistani government is clear. We will not interfere in Afghanistan. We will not let anyone use our land against Afghanistan and expect the same in return.”

He also assured that Pakistani forces and civil institutions were prepared to deal with the fallout of growing violence in Afghanistan.