Afghanistan closes Peshawar consulate to protest flag removal

Peshawar: Afgha­nistan closed its consulate in Peshawar for an indefinite period on Friday to protest the removal of its national flag from Afghan Market.

“We condemn removal of our national flag from the market by police and close down the consulate in Peshawar for an indefinite period,” Afghan Consul General Muhammad Has­him Niazi said at a press conference.

“The consulate is closed for an indefinite period as a protest against unwarranted action by the police and the administration,” he said.

He termed removal of the flag from Afghan Market a violation of diplomatic norms. The Afghan flag was hoisted atop the market again and its ambassador took up the matter with the foreign office.

Consul General Hashim Niazi told reporters that despite warnings, police raided the market on Thursday night and removed Afghanistan’s flag.

Hashim Niazi said the land mafia was behind the dispute and its motive was to sow discord between the two countries.

The Afghan diplomat asked Islamabad to “suspend the court’s verdict” and instead, solve the issue through diplomatic channels.

The district administration had evicted 180 Afghan shopkeepers from the market and removed the country’s national flag there on Oct 8 after a contempt of court petition was filed in the Peshawar High Court by Syed Intekhab Haider Abidi, the market’s owner, seeking implementation of an earlier judgement in his favour.

The place had been in possession of the Afghan government for the last several decades.