Afghan chief executive’s office says PTM internal matter of Pakistan

PESHAWAR: Contrary to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s earlier remarks about the PTM which drew sharp criticism from Pakistan, now the Afghan chief executive’s office has said it’s an internal matter of Pakistan.

On Saturday, Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah’s office reacted to recent remarks by Ashraf Ghani and other government officials about the death of a senior Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) member in Pakistan, saying it is an internal matter for Pakistan and Afghanistan should stay away from it.

On 7 February, Ashraf Ghani in a controversial statement had said the Afghan government was concerned over the “violence perpetrated against peaceful protestors and civil activists in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan”.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi took strong exception to the statement of Mr Ghani and termed it a gross interference in Pakistan’s internal affairs.

“We reject the tweet by President Ashraf Ghani. Such irresponsible statements are only gross interference. Afghan leadership needs to focus on long-standing serious grievances of the Afghan people,” Shah Mehmood Qureshi stated in a tweet.

The Afghan chief executive’s office said in a statement that there was a need for focusing on addressing problems in Afghanistan rather than raising such issues. This statement apparently endorsed the point of view of Pakistan’s foreign minister.

Abdullah’s spokesman Mujib Rahman Rahimi said the PTI is an internal matter of Pakistan. He said Afghanistan was not in a position to interfere in other countries’ affairs.

“We have many problems and issues inside our country and it is better to address them first,” the spokesman said.

Ashraf Ghani’s remarks were condemned by the government and opposition leaders in Pakistan alike.

Spacer National Assembly Asad Qaiser termed Ghani’s tweet highly irresponsible, outrageous, gross interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan and against the norms of internationally-recognised principles of inter-state relations.

The speaker said such indiscretions can affect the efforts that are currently underway to create bonhomie between the two countries. He said instead of pointing an accusing finger towards Pakistan, it is better for Ghani to focus on resolving the problems of his own people.

The Senate Standing Committee on Interior had also rejected the statement of Ghani. The committee’s meeting chaired by Rehman Malik unanimously passed a resolution and termed the statement as “irresponsible and anti-Pakistan”.

The Afghan chief executive’s office has apparently issued the statement to calm down anger in Pakistan on Ghani’s statement.