Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Thursday rejected Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s statement claiming ‘violence’ was used against peaceful protesters and civil activists in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.
In a scathing reply to Ghani’s tweet, Qureshi termed the “irresponsible statements” a “gross interference” on the Afghan president’s part.
The foreign minister reminded the Afghan leadership “to focus on long-standing serious grievances of the Afghan people.”
Earlier today, Ghani took to Twitter to express concerns over the recent crackdown against protesters staging demonstration against the killing of Arman Loni.
“The Afghan government has serious concerns about the violence perpetrated against peaceful protestors and civil activists in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan,” he said.
“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.”
The Afghan president warned of “long-standing negative consequences.”
The Afghan president’s tweet also drew a strong reaction from former foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar.
“[It] [is] Sad [that] Ashraf Ghani would think it appropriate to comment on what is clearly an internal matter for Pakistan,” she said in a tweet.
“Baloch, Pashtun, Saraiki, Punjabi & Sindhi are Pakistanis and we certainly need to fix many things but am sure you know that your comments can only worsen situation not help it. [I] am quite sure as President of Afghanistan it must never be your intention to worsen a situation in Pakistan. We will all be well served to ‘concern’ ourselves with matters within our own borders. Our people will also be better served if we concentrate on fixing wrongs within our borders.”
The ties between Islamabad and Kabul remain frosty despite Pakistan playing a key role in bringing Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table in talks with the United States.
Afghanistan’s government, however, remains absent from the talks because the Taliban does not recognise its legitimacy and refuses to sit down with it at the negotiating table.
The government in Kabul insists the talks were not in Afghanistan’s best interest.
Last year, Islamabad and Kabul agreed on a seven-point action plan for regional peace. The plan, Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS), included that 1. Pakistan will support the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process and reconciliation; 2. The two countries will undertake effective actions against fugitives and the irreconcilable elements posing security threats to either of the two countries; 3. Both countries commit to deny use of their respective territories by any country, network, group, or individuals for anti-state activities against either country; 4. To put in place a joint supervision, coordination, and confirmation mechanism through liaison officers for the realization of the agreed actions; 5. To avoid territorial and aerial violations of each other’s territory; 6. Both countries will avoid the public “blame game” and instead use APAPPS cooperation mechanisms to respond to mutual issues of contention and concern; and 7. To establish working groups and necessary cooperation mechanisms as per APAPPS for full implementation of the APAPPS and above mutually reinforcing principles.