Pakistan’s Crackdown On Pashtun Activists Draws Concerns of Afghan Gov’t

(Last Updated On: February 7, 2019)

The arrest of a group of ethnic Pashtun activists at a rally in Pakistan this week has drawn serious concerns of the Afghan government.

The members of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) were detained during an Islamabad protest against police violence on Tuesday, the latest in a series of moves against the group which was founded a year ago to protest the death of a Pashtun man killed by police in the Pakistani port city of Karachi.

Tuesday’s incident, reopening longstanding tensions between Kabul and Islamabad.

“The Afghan government has serious concerns about the violence perpetrated against peaceful protesters and civil activists in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan,” Ghani wrote in a tweet.

“We believe it is the moral responsibility of every government to support civil activities that take a stand against the terrorism and extremism that plagues and threatens our region and collective security. Otherwise, there could be long-standing negative consequences,” he added.

In reaction, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi rejected Ghani’s comment.

“Such irresponsible statements are only gross interference,” he said in a tweet, adding that Ghani should focus on the “longstanding grievances of the Afghan people”.

Tuesday’s protests followed the death of PTM regional leader Arman Loni in southwestern Balochistan province which the group blamed on police.

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