ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has launched a diplomatic campaign to defeat India’s growing conspiracies to pit Kabul against Islamabad, The Nation learnt.

Yesterday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the renovated Stor Palace in Kabul with Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani via video conference.

Modi in his video conference with Ghani said: “Today we have once again come together to celebrate yet another achievement of our friendship. Afghanistan is India’s immediate neighbour and we take pride in saying that we are close friends with Afghanistan and a population of 1.25 billion people will always be on your side. Indians will help in making Afghanistan prosperous.”

The Afghan President responded: “We are ready to spare no effort in protecting peace, overcome terror and extremism and work for prosperity of our nations. I express my most sincere appreciation for the government of India.”

After the Salma Dam, this comes as the second joint effort of both countries. The Stor Palace, also known as Qasr-e-Stor, was initially built as a one-story pavilion during the reign of Amir Abdur Rahman Khan.

It was expanded on at least two occasions in the 20th century. In 1919, one of the rooms in the palace was used for the signing of the Rawalpindi Agreement, with which Afghanistan became a sovereign state.

Earlier, Afghanistan’s former president Hamid Karzai backed Modi’s statement on Balochistan and said India had ‘every right to respond to Pakistan’s provocations.’

Senior officials at the foreign ministry told The Nation, India’s closeness to Afghanistan was disturbing Pakistan as the nation fights terrorism and extremism.

One official said Pakistan had started contacting the Afghan counterparts to foil the India’s growing conspiracies of dragging Afghanistan away from Pakistan.

“The growing conspiracies are designed to make Afghan border hostile and we aim to defeat this. A campaign has been launched to achieve this goal,” he said.

Another official said Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was sensible and would not fall into Modi’s trap. “We are not against their ties with any country but we are hopeful Ashraf Ghani will understand who helped them when they needed it,” he added.

Yesterday, Pakistan-Afghan border along the Chaman friendship gate remained closed on the fifth consecutive day and the trade activities remained suspended.

Long queues of containers could be seen on Pak-Afghan border in Chaman. The major crossing on the Afghan-Pakistan border has been closed over a dispute over the burning of a Pakistani flag by Afghan demonstrators last week.

Pakistani officials said the Chaman crossing was closed after a group of Afghan youth celebrating the country’s independence day on August 19 ransacked the border gate and burned a Pakistani flag.

Pakistani and Afghan officials held meetings over the weekend to resolve the issue but no agreement was reached. Hundreds of trucks carrying food and other goods were parked on both sides of the border on August 22.

Chaman, in the Balochistan province, is one of the two major border crossings. The other is Torkham in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Torkham was closed for weeks earlier this year when troops from both countries clashed over a border post Pakistan had planned to build.

Defence analyst Raza Mohammed Khan aid no one should have any doubt about the fact that Pakistan favours peaceful and stable Afghanistan.

“We regret on the recent terrorist attack and loss of precious lives in Afghanistan. Pakistan and Afghanistan should establish a conducive environment and restore confidence between the two governments,” he said.

He said Afghan refugees living in Pakistan work against the state of Pakistan, “which is not acceptable in any manner. We want their respectable exit from our territory and a comprehensive action is required for complete eradication of terrorist outfits from Afghanistan. The death of Mullah Mansoor was a major setback to the efforts of restoration of peace in Afghanistan.”

Expert on Afghanistan’s affairs Rustam Shah Mohmand said the recent incident in Afghanistan had no connection with events in Europe and Kashmir.  “There are other elements active in Afghanistan, who want American exit from the country,” he said.

Mohmand said Afghanistan’s support was imperative for complete elimination of terrorism. Afghanistan is not the only front Pakistan has to fight against India as New Delhi has unleashed a wave of terror in held Kashmir.

Yesterday, Kashmiris on this side of the border observed a ‘black day’ against Indian Prime Minister Nerendra Modi’s statement regarding Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan. The ‘black day’ was observed in the Azad Jammu Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.

On August 15, Indian Independence Day, Modi termed Pakistan as a supporter of ‘terrorism’ and asserted that people of Balochistan, Gilgit and Kashmir had thanked him a lot in past few days and he was grateful to them.

He also said the Indians also cried when children in Peshawar were killed in Army Public School attack in December 2014. “This is our nature, but look at the other side. They glorify terrorists,” he added.

Pakistan has been in touch with the international powers to stop India’s atrocities in held Kashmir. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said last day Pakistan will continue to back the just struggle of the Kashmiris for their right to self-determination.

Yesterday, leader of opposition in National Assembly Syed Khurshid Shah said India cannot suppress the voice of Kashmiris by brute force. In a statement, he said United Nations should perform its due role in resolution of Kashmir dispute.