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Afghan President severely reproves Pakistan on violence against Pashtun and Baloch people

Kabul / Islamabad – Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani objected to the Pakistan Army’s action against the demonstrations held in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces of Pakistan last month. Afghan President Ghani warned of dire consequences if the Pakistani Army did not stop the action against the protestors. However, Pakistan has expressed displeasure over President Ghani’s warning and has reprimanded Afghanistan not to interfere in Pakistan’s internal affairs.

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The organisation named ‘Pashtun Tahafuz Movement’ (PTM) or the ‘Pashtun Protection Movement’ from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in north-west Pakistan is protesting against the Pakistan Army, accusing it of violence against the Pashtun people. Around a year ago, the Pakistan Army had killed a Pashtun citizen under the pretext of a counter-terrorism action. The PTM has alleged that the Pakistan Army is carrying out the killings of the Pashtun people in Waziristan and nearby areas close to the Afghanistan border under the same guise of anti-terror action.

Last month, severe discontent had flared up against Pakistan Army’s violence. Enraged at it, the PTM had intensified protests in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region for the previous few weeks. The PTM, which was formed only a year ago, is gaining massive support among the Pashtun population. The protestors are demanding of Pakistan security agencies withdraw from the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region. Apart from the area, a large number of the Pashtun population participated in the PTM protests held in Karachi, Peshawar and other major Pakistani cities. Moreover, Pakistani analysts and media have voiced fears at the intense protests terming them as the beginning of a ‘Second Bangladesh’.

Likewise, the protests in Balochistan against the Pakistan Army have intensified. In Balochistan, the Pakistan Army is allegedly arbitrarily arresting the Baloch youth and killing anyone who tries to resist this. Upset with the simultaneous protests in Balochistan and the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces, the Pakistan Army has resorted to heavy-handed methods against the Pashtuns and the Balochs and detained 19 Pashtun protestors.

The Afghanistan President raised objections over the Pakistan Army’s action against the Pashtun and Baloch protestors. ‘The Afghan government has serious concerns about the violence perpetrated against peaceful protesters and civil activists in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan provinces and finds it deplorable. We believe it is the moral responsibility of every government to support civil activities that take a stand against terrorism and extremism that plagues and threatens our region and collective security. Otherwise, there could be long-standing negative consequences,’ Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said.

The Pashtuns and the Balochs are deeply connected to Afghanistan due to their ethnicity, culture and geographical location. Therefore, Afghanistan is believed to have responded to the violence against the people here. The PTM has welcomed Afghan President’s stand whereas, the Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has criticised the Afghan President saying, ‘The Afghan President should focus on long-standing serious grievances of the Afghan people’.

The Afghanistan government and the security agencies have consistently alleged that Pakistan-sponsored terrorism is the cause of instability in Afghanistan. At the same time, there are many instances of border disputes between Pakistan and Afghanistan, as also skirmishes between the two militaries along the border. The conflict between the two countries is only escalating with time and Afghanistan is said to adopted an increasingly aggressive stance in it. The warning to Pakistan by Afghan President over the action against the Pashtun and Baloch people freshly underscores it.

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