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December 6, 2019
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Mehmood Achakzai’s Afghan remarks puts him in trouble

PESHAWAR: Head of Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party Mahamood Khan Achakzai’s remarks in which he stated that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) belongs to Afghanistan and Afghans can live there without fear and irritation, has stirred a controversy.

“If Afghans are harassed in other parts of Pakistan, they should come here to the Pakhtunkhwa province, where no one can ask them for refugee cards, because it also belongs to them,” Achakzai who leads the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party said.

“Kabul and Islamabad should exercise extreme caution to resolve Torkham crossing conflict. Otherwise, they should leave the issue to the US and China, and they would resolve it within two weeks,” he told Radio Ashna.

Pakistan paramilitary forces attempted to build a gate in the zero point of the crossing, that resulted in fight between Afghan and Pakistan forces. Both sides received casualties during fighting.

“Torkham and forcedly repatriation of Afghan refugees are two separate issues. It not only raised concerns among Afghan officials in Afghanistan, but also made Pashtun leaders concerned in here,” he added.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervaiz Khattak denounced the comments as “shameful”. People of KP had voted in favour of Pakistan in 1947, he said.

Speaking to Samaa, Achakzai clarified his statement, saying that Afghan refugees should be sent in a dignified manner. He, however, added that his party would put up resistance if Afghan refugees were harassed.

Senior journalist Nadeem Malik described Achakzai’s statement as “inappropriate”. He said the senior politician was trying to play Pashtun card.

“Will any Islamic country allow Pakistanis to live unlawfully,” he questioned and added that over 2 lac Pakistanis were deported from Saudi Arabia for illegal stay.

Achakzai’s statement also drew strong condemnations on social media with some suggesting that he should be sent to Afghanistan.

Ejaz Chaudhry, a PTI leader, remarked that whether Achakzai would repeat his statement in the Parliament of Pakistan, to which he himself was a member.