Achakzai says K-P belongs to Afghans

Tells Afghan newspaper he will not allow ‘harrassment’ of refugees

Tahir Khan July 01, 2016
Tells Afghan newspaper he will not allow ‘harrassment’ of refugees. PHOTO: AFP/ FILE

ISLAMABAD: Pashtun nationalist leader Mahmood Khan Achakzai stoked a fresh controversy on Thursday after he reportedly said that Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province ‘belongs to Afghans’.

In an interview with Kabul-based English language daily Afghanistan Times, the Pushtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) chief directly said that “K-P belongs to Afghans and they can live there without fear and irritation”.

“I will not allow anyone to harass Afghan refugees in their own land… If Afghans are harassed in other parts of Pakistan, they should come to K-P where no one can ask them for refugee cards, because it also belongs to them,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.

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Talking about recent skirmishes between Pakistani and Afghan security forces at the Torkham border crossing, Achakzai said: “Kabul and Islamabad should exercise extreme caution to resolve the conflict.”

“Otherwise, they [Pakistan and Afghanistan] should leave the issue to the United States and China, which will resolve it within two weeks.”

“Torkham and forced repatriation of Afghan refugees are two separate issues. It not only raised concerns among Afghan officials in Afghanistan, but also made Pashtun leaders concerned here,” the PkMAP chief also claimed in the interview.

Afghan troops opened fire on Pakistani security officials earlier this month when Islamabad started building a gate well inside its side of the border at Torkham. The clashes resulted in casualties on both sides. Pakistan and Afghanistan have now declared a ceasefire and have agreed to constitute a bilateral mechanism for discussion of issues related to border management.

Achakzai’s comments drew anger and derision in Pakistan. Lashing out at his remarks, K-P Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak said the PkMAP chief has ‘humiliated all Pakistanis’.

“The people of K-P gave their verdict in favour of Pakistan, not Afghanistan, in 1947,” Khattak said in a statement issued on Thursday. “Does Mehmood Khan Achakzai still envision a Pakistan without K-P?” he asked.

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The chief minister added that the people of K-P “are united and reject Achakzai’s claims.”

Senior Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader and former K-P minister Shaukat Yousafzai also expressed annoyance with Achakzai, telling the PkMAP chief to “move to Afghanistan if he has such love for that country.”

As Achakzai’s remarks sparked condemnation in Pakistan, he issued a clarification on Thursday and claimed the Afghan media had taken his words out of context.

He insisted that he had been referring to K-P’s historic background before the Durand Line agreement and did not say the province belonged to Afghans.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 1st, 2016.

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Patriotic Pakistani | 4 years ago | Reply | Recommend Asfandyar Wali khan in a recent interview with AVT Khyber news TV channel conducted by Hasan Khan, a journalist from Mardan, said similar things but there was no uproar in the media. In the interview, Khan said, Afghanistan is the motherland of all Pashtuns of Pakistan. And he added that he was proud of that. So, the point is that these statements should not be taken seriously. These are just slogans. When PTI condemns such statements it looks that it is a party of the non-Pakhtuns and as a result the Pashtun nationalists thrive and Pashtun nationalism gets promoted. This is what the Pashtun nationalists want.
Malik Saab | 4 years ago | Reply | Recommend @Chris: I belong from Hazara division. We do not accept the name of KP and for your information many regions of KP are Majority Non Pushtoon regions. We reject this idea that KP belong to Pushtoons only. That is why we need our own Province "Hazara Province" or "Hazara-Potohar Province". If Pushtuns believe in self determination then kindly first give the right to Hazara division, Kohistan, DI Khan, Chitral and Mountaneous Swat region ( Region of Gujjars) to separate from KP. We do not want to be a part of KP. We want our own province where Racism will not prevail and one ethnicity will not bang the door that this region belong to them. Most Pushtoons are migrants of this land. We are the original Inhabitants of this land and we will never ever leave our lands no matter what.
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