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Afghan Govt Closes Consulate In Peshawar Over Property Dispute

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Peshawar

The Afghanistan government has closed its consulate in Peshawar following a rejection of its claim of ownership over a property by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

The Afghan Consulate representative in Peshawar Mohammad Hashim Niazi told Naya Daur that Firdous Market in Peshawar was owned by the National Bank of Afghanistan before the partition of the sub-continent.

Recently, the Supreme Court of Pakistan in a verdict challenged the claim of the Afghan government and announced a decision against Afghanistan.

In a recent development, the flag of Afghanistan was removed from Firdous Market in Peshawar following an order to transfer the property in light of a case won by a citizen of Peshawar.

According to details, Pakistani citizen, Syed Zawar Hussain, claimed ownership of Afghan market in Peshawar a decade ago. The Supreme Court of Pakistan recently decided the case in favour of Zawar Hussain.

The Afghan consul general also alleged that the consulate in Peshawar was closed because the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police harassed shopkeepers of the market to empty their shops with immediate effect without any notice.

He said that earlier, Afghanistan had warned Pakistan when the flag was removed for the first time that they would close the Peshawar Consulate if the Afghan flag was removed from the market.

He also expressed reservations over the incident and said that ‘qabza mafia property snatchers’ must be stopped at once, adding that diplomatic norms must be used to find a solution to the problem. He further said that in sensitive times like these, such acts must be avoided.

On the other hand, the Afghan Consulate in Peshawar claims that the Afghan government owns the market as it had purchased the market from the previous owner.

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Complying with the orders of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government took action to hand over the market to Zawar Hussain.

However, the shopkeepers of the market and members of the Afghan Consulate staged a protest over the action.

Meanwhile, Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan, Shukrullah Atif Mashal, also visited the market and hoisted the Afghan flag again.

Talking to media, the Afghan ambassador said that the market is owned by the National Bank of Afghanistan.

He threatened that the consulate in Peshawar would remain closed if harassment of shopkeepers continued and if the flag of Afghanistan was removed from the market.

He expressed that the incident would not affect ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan but it should not be taken lightly as this was the second time the flag of Afghanistan was removed from a disputed property on which the Afghan government had a mutual claim.    

He added that both governments must reach an agreement over the ownership of Firdous market, saying that the Afghan government owned the market since before partition.

He hoped that the Pakistan government would take back the decision and the matter would be resolved diplomatically.

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