ISLAMABAD - Defence Minister Khwaja Asif Monday said in the National Assembly that India was using Afghanistan’s soil to destabilise Pakistan.

“The decision to close the border with Afghanistan is a matter of national security. Pakistan will not allow using Afghanistan soil against its people,” said the minister while responding to concerns raised by opposition lawmakers about the closure of the Afghan border and alleged profiling of Pakhtuns in Lahore and other parts of the country.

Opposition Leader in NA Syed Khursheed Shah, considering it an important matter for Pakistan, demanded calling a joint session of parliament to debate the matter in length.

Requesting the opposition side not to equate Afghan border with other matters, Asif said it was imperative to close the border with Afghanistan due to the current situation. “Pakistan has closed the border as the killers of our sons are taking refuge and hiding in Afghanistan.”

The minister thrice asked the opposition MNAs not to politicise the issue of national security only for point-scoring.

Asif said that there was a need for proper border management with Afghanistan. “There is 200 crossing points at the border with Afghanistan and nine are much active,” he said.

Pakistan and Afghanistan can jointly eliminate the menace of terrorism. “There should be no point scoring on this matter, as it is our right to close the border,” he said.

Terrorists have no religion, no province and no specific area as they are only against the country’s integrity by their nefarious design, he added.

The minister was of the view that India has outsourced the task of committing terrorism in Pakistan to those sitting in Afghanistan. “There is no need to equate East Pakistan and other borders issues with the recent closing of Afghanistan border,” he said.

Asif said that Pakistan has hosted 3.5 million Afghan refugees in the past. He underlined that peace in both the countries was inter-linked.

While talking about the PSL final in Lahore, he said the cricket match was a message for terrorists. “Arranging a final match in Lahore was being dubbed as madness,” he said while alluding to the apprehensions of PTI’s Imran Khan.

The opposition leader said there was a need to immediately summon a joint session of parliament to debate the concerns raised by the defence minister. “There was a need for an in-camera session to discuss this matter,” he added.

While talking about the PSL final, he said: “We are all patriotic people. It needs to ascertain who has promoted terrorism,” he said and added that there was a need of unity to deal with the menace of terrorism.

Taking part in the debate, PTI’s Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the PTI has supported the government at different stages. “We have always supported the government on national issues,” he said. “Why Pakhtuns are having the feeling of discrimination. It needs to be addressed,” he said adding that there was also a need of proper border management. He further said that the circular debt was further mounting.

Earlier, opposition lawmakers raised the issue of ethnic profiling of Pakhtuns in different parts of the country, especially in the Punjab. Ghulam Sarwar of the PTI, on a point of order, criticised the government for closing the border with Afghanistan. “Why racial profiling was carried out against Pakhtun,” he questioned.

Jamaat-e-Islami’s Tariq Ullah, on point of order, criticised the arrests of Pakhtuns from different parts of the country, especially in Lahore. Ghulam Ahmed Bilour of the ANP, Maulana Jamaluddin, Abdul Qahar and others also raised concerns over racial profiling of Pashtuns. Rajab Baloch from treasury benches dispelled the impression of racial profiling of Pashtuns. “Due to certain circumstances, checking was carried out in different areas to only ascertain Afghan nationals,” he said.

MQM lawmakers, at the fag end of the proceeding, staged a walkout against the alleged extra-judicial killing of their workers.