The Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan, Shukrullah Atif Mashal, says Pakistani police have repeatedly attacked the Afghan market in Peshawar and taken down the Afghan national flag, and in response the Afghan Embassy in Islamabad has closed the Afghan Consulate in Peshawar.
The Afghan government stated on Friday that such actions are “irresponsible and insulting.”
Over the past few several days Pakistani police have repeatedly entered the Afghan market in Peshawar and removed the Afghan flag, say Afghan government officials.
“Many soldiers came here, acting like terrorists. This is not acceptable. This is not good for improving relations between the two countries,” said Shukrullah Atif Mashal, the Afghan ambassador.
Apparently Afghanistan has sought to deal with the matter in a formal way with a Pakistan court, but the court’s ruling was not considered impartial. Afghanistan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry in a statement said: “The Government of Afghanistan reiterates that the Afghan legal evidence has not been addressed in the context of the Afghan market due to political motives of the Pakistani court. Therefore, the Pakistani court's decision does not convince Afghan judicial institutions.”
“The problem will not be solved only by closing the consulate. The Pakistani ambassador should be summoned, and the issue should be pursued diplomatically,” said Abdul Rahman Wardak, a parliament member.
“There is huge traffic between Afghanistan and Pakistan and if our consulate is closed it is not in our own people’s interest,” said Mirza Mohammad Katawazi.
Meanwhile, a number of civil society activists gathered in front of the Pakistani Embassy in Kabul to chant slogans against Pakistan.
“Our flag is our national identity, no one can disrespect our identity,” said Farid Selani, a civil society activist.
“An attack on the Afghan market is an attack on friendship between two nations, and an attack on good neighborly relations,” said Mohammad Asif Akbari, an activist.
The Pakistani government has not responded so far, but according to reports there is a claimant to the property of the Afghan market, while the Afghan consulate claims it as Afghan government property.