In an unprecedented diplomatic snub, Islamabad has rebuffed an offer made by Afghan President Hamid Karzai to visit Pakistan to discuss a joint strategy for action against terrorist outfit Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other groups who have sought shelter in Afghan areas following the launch of Operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan Agency (NWA).
Pakistan Today has learnt that Karzai made the offer in a meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Special Envoy Mehmood Khan Achakzai and Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudry who met the Afghan president last week to formally convey Pakistan’s request for Afghan cooperation in the ongoing military offensive.
President Karzai called Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and offered complete cooperation from his side, adding that he would visit Pakistan to finalise matters. According to an official source privy to the developments, Pakistan told the Afghan president to send a representative delegation instead.
Following Pakistan’s refusal to host the Afghan president, Afghanistan’s top security adviser Dr Rangin Dadfar Spanta arrived in Islamabad earlier this week for talks with the Pakistani leadership.
According to the source, Karzai, who has been involved in power seeking schemes and serious blame-games since past many years, is facing international diplomatic isolation these days.
“Karzai is facing diplomatic isolation as the US and UK governments are not pleased with him following his refusal to sign a bilateral security agreement with the US. Now, he wants to make Islamabad convince the US and British governments to secure a future role for himself,” said a well-placed diplomatic source.
The source added that in the midst of a power transition in war-torn Afghanistan, Karzai is also being accused of engineering a massive vote fraud. “However, just to catch media attention, the Afghan president is busy levelling baseless accusations against Pakistan over border violations,” the source said, adding that Karzai wanted to visit Islamabad in order to gain political mileage.
MASSIVE VOTE FRAUD:
Afghan presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah, who gained a lead in the first phase of the presidential elections, has accused Karzai of engineering a massive vote-fraud in favour of his opponent, Dr Ashraf Ghani.
Abdullah had questioned the figures of the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan (IEC). The election complaints body said it had received more than 560 complaints of fraud so far.
Talking to Pakistan Today, a high-ranking diplomat of the British High Commission based in Islamabad said, “We are also receiving reports which suggest that Karzai is engineering this vote fraud to remain in power.”
The diplomat said that the reports suggest that the vote fraud is aimed at triggering ethnic divisions in the war-torn Afghanistan. “A dispute between Ghani and Abdullah may trigger an ethnic conflict in Afghanistan which may draw a militant row between Pashtun and non-Pashtun factions. Any such controversy may provide an opportunity to Karzai to remain in power for an indefinite period,” the source said.
According to sources, the voting turnout in the first phase was around five million which swelled to seven million in the second phase, raising serious questions on the authenticity of the electoral process.
Normally, the voter turnout in the first phase is more than the second phase and the resignation of an Afghan IEC top official has further complicated the matter, “which looks like a scripted one”, the source said.
Sources have revealed that Karzai is also trying to engineer border conflicts with Pakistan by creating the false impression that Pakistani soldiers in civvies are conducting operations inside Afghanistan.
“If Pakistani forces had intruded into Afghanistan, they would have arrested some of the top TTP commanders who have taken refuge in Afghanistan, soon after the NWA operation was launched,” said the source.
“Most of the TTP terrorists are being hosted by the Afghan government and the Afghan authorities are not cooperating with Pakistan for their repatriation,” the source said.
Karzai has been in power for over 13 years and is well connected with influential warlords, local and foreign militants, foreign spy agencies, including CIA, RAW and MI6.
The source added that Karzai has been assured by both the presidential candidates that he would be appointed as adviser in the next Afghan government.