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Pakistan Surprised Over Closure Of Afghan Consulate In Peshawar Over A Private Dispute

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PESHAWAR: The Foreign Office (FO) has expressed concerns over the closure of Consulate General of Afghanistan in the provincial capital over a private property dispute.

A FO statement said that the Pakistani government has nothing to do with the ownership of the said property in the provincial capital as the issue is between a citizen of the city and a bank in Afghanistan.

The statement termed the steps taken to enforce the legal verdict of the Supreme Court (SC) as the right of the citizen.

“The recent enforcement action by the local administration occurred after legal remedies were exhausted by the Afghan party to this legal dispute. We reject any comments casting aspersions on the judicial process in Pakistan,” said the FO statement.

It also said that the court’s verdict on the case in question had been decided in the citizen’s favour in 1998.

Pakistan also expressed concern about the closure of Afghanistan’s consulate in the city and hoped that the decision would be reviewed by the Afghan government.

“We hope that a private legal case would not be allowed to adversely affect the relations between the two brotherly countries,” the FO statement concluded.

On Friday, Afghanistan closed its consulate in the provincial capital over a dispute pertaining to the ownership of Afghan market, which is situated near Jinnah Park in the provincial capital.

Afghanistan’s national bank has been collecting more than Rs1.5 million as monthly rent from tenants through its manager for the past many years.

Meanwhile, Afghan Consul General Mohammad Hashim Niazi claimed that Afghanistan’s flag had been removed from the market, even though the country owned the property. He alleged that the shopkeepers in the market were also tortured after which they closed the consulate.

He also said that Pakistan must find a solution to the problem by using diplomatic channels.

A Pakistani citizen, namely Syed Zawar Hussain, claims to be the owner of the market. The SC has also decided the case in his favour. On the other hand, the Consulate General of Afghanistan in the city claimed that the Afghan government was the actual owner of the market.

In order to act upon the decision of the apex court, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government started action to hand over the market to Hussain, who had won the case of ownership. However, the shopkeepers of the market and workers of Afghanistan’s consulate staged a protest over the government action.

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