The Afghanistani consulate in Peshawar, Pakistan closed down on Saturday, October 12. The reason for the closure of the consulate is to protest the raids in the Afghan market by Pakistani policemen. A Pakistani news agency quoted Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan, Shukrullah Atif Mashal, as saying "Pakistani police have repeatedly attacked the Afghan market in Peshawar and taken down the Afghan national flag".
The controversy began over a dispute in the ownership of the market after the Pakistani Supreme Court ruled in favour of a Pakistani national. The Afghanistan embassy has stated that the market is the property of Afghanistan and has been its property for a very long time. As the verdict was delivered by the country’s Supreme Court, the Pakistani authorities started demolishing the shops in the market and removed the Afghan national flag.
In response, the Afghan Embassy in Islamabad has closed its consulate in Peshawar. "Many soldiers came here, acting like terrorists. This is not acceptable. This is not good for improving relations between the two countries," said Shukrullah Atif Mashal. He added, “We consider the Pakistani police action as a violation of the diplomatic norms and good neighbourhood," the statement said. Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal said that the case for legal possession of the Afghan market was between a private Pakistani claimant and Afghanistan's national bank. "The Supreme Court has decided in favour of the private claimant. It is a purely legal matter and action has been taken following court's order," the spokesman told a weekly briefing on Thursday.
The Afghan consulate claims the Afghan Market as a property belonging to its government. However, reports suggest that there is another claimant to the property. Meanwhile, protests took place in front of the Pakistan Embassy in Kabul. The protesters chanted slogans against Pakistan with some of them saying that "our flag is our national identity, no one can disrespect our identity."
(INPUTS FROM ANI)