Afghanistan reopens consulate in Pakistan’s Peshawar

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Islamabad, Dec 28 (IANS) Afghanistan has reopened its consulate in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar after more than two months amid signs of improvement in relations between the two Asian nations, Afghan officials in Pakistan said.

The consulate was closed in early October after the Afghan embassy in Islamabad said police in Peshawar removed the Afghan national flag from a market, which Afghanistan says is its property, Xinhua reported on Friday.

First Secretary Consular Incharge at the Afghan consulate in Peshawar Faridoon Haider Khel said on Friday the consulate resumed visa operations from Friday. He wrote on Facebook that people could now approach the diplomatic mission for visas.

The controversy started after the Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled that a Pakistani citizen was the owner of the market, instructing the authorities to vacate the building and hand it over to the Pakistani citizen.

The local authorities in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, took actions in the wake of the court’s order.

A Pakistani official told Xinhua that the government of Pakistan is not a party to the market issue and it is the matter between an individual and the Afghan government.

“We cannot interfere in the judicial matters and had invited Afghan officials to visit Pakistan to get briefings from the Pakistani officials on legal aspects of the court’s verdict,” he said.

However, an Afghan diplomat in Islamabad told Xinhua that his government is not agreed on Pakistan’s position.

“Our stance is that the issue is between two states and not individuals,” he said.

Meanwhile, a delegation of the Afghan government on Friday concluded talks with Pakistani officials to explore ways for the solution to the market issue, an Afghan official in Islamabad said. However, both sides could not “reach any breakthrough” about the market’s ownership, he said.

–IANS

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