Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah’s office on Saturday reacted to recent remarks by President Ashraf Ghani and other government officials on the death of a senior member of Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) in Pakistan, saying that it is an internal matter for Pakistan.
The objections were first made by President Ghani as he said in a tweet that “the Afghan government has serious concerns about the violence perpetrated against peaceful protestors and civil activists in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan”.
His remarks were responded by Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Mahmood Qureshi who tweeted that “we reject the tweet by President Ashraf Ghani. Such irresponsible statements are only gross interference. Afghan leadership needs to focus on long-standing serious grievances of the Afghan people”.
Ghani also tweeted that “we believe it is the moral responsibility of every government to support civil activities that take a stand against the terrorism and extremism that plagues and threatens our region and collective security. Otherwise there could be long-standing negative consequences”.
The tweets were made on February 7.
Arman Loni was one of the leaders of the PTM who was killed after returning from a sit-in protest outside Loralai Press Club in Baluchistan on February 2, reports suggest. The sit-in protest had been staged in protest against a recent terror attack. Pakistan media reports stated Loni had been sitting in a park after the protest when police arrested him. Loni had attended the sit-in protest along with his sister, Wranga Loni.
Chief Executive Abdullah’s office said there is a need for focusing on addressing problems in Afghanistan rather than raising such issues.
“It is an internal matter of Pakistan. Afghanistan is not in a position which will interfere in others’ affairs. We have many problems and issues inside our country and it is better to address them first,” Mujib Rahman Rahimi, spokesman for Chief Executive Abdullah said.
The reaction on Loni’s death did not end in President Ghani and Qureshi’s tweets. President Ghani’s running mate for presidential elections and former acting minister of interior, Amrullah Saleh, also on February 7, responding to Qureshi’s remarks. Saleh said Afghanistan has been suffering for years from the terror and Taliban sent to the country from Pakistan.
“Excellency Foreign Minister Qureshi. We have been on the receiving end of terror & Taliban for years sent & exported from your country. We have just sent back a Tweet. There is a gross imbalance in our bilateral Trade & Tweet. We indeed need to focus on our grievances & we will,” Saleh said in a tweet.
“It is good that we should support free movements but we should support from them in case that there is no problem in our country. The people of Afghanistan know that the freedoms that we are seeking for neighboring countries, we should demand them for our own people first,” MP Fawzia Kofi said.
The remarks by the Afghan president met with and Pakistan’s foreign minister met with mixed reaction by analysts from Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“If you have a problem with Pakistan, raise it through diplomatic channels, fight with it. For God sake, do not fuel differences between Pashtuns,”said Hassan Khan, a Pakistani reporter.
“Pakistan is not a permanent country and not a permanent nation and there is no nation there. No one, starting from Alama Iqbal has known a country named Pakistan,” said Ismail Yun, a university lecturer.
The Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) is a social movement for Pashtun human rights. It is based in Pakistan’s Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan province and was founded by Pashtun civil rights activist Manzoor Pashteen.
The movement rose to prominence in January 2018 when it began a justice movement for a Pashtun activist Naqeebullah Mehsud, who was killed extrajudicially during a police encounter in the Pakistani city port of Karachi that same month. Other prominent leaders include Ali Wazir and Mohsin Dawar.