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Pakistan moving towards complete isolation: Asfandyar

ANP asks KP govt to follow centuries-old code of Pashtunvali, see refugees as guests

By Mansoor Faizy-KABUL: A Pakistani politician and a prominent Pashtun leader, Asfandyar Wali Khan has said that his country was passing through a critical time in its history as the country faced with what he called “extreme isolation in the region”.

“Our isolation could be judged from the postponement of the SAARC summit, which was due to be held in Islamabad, but five member states refused to come to Pakistan,” he said, referring to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.

The remark comes as Afghanistan and four other SAARC members—India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka—pulled out of the November summit, indirectly blaming Pakistan for creating an environment not conducive for successful holding of the meet.

Soon after the SAARC members refused to attend the summit, Pakistan announced that the summit scheduled for November 9-10 in Islamabad had been postponed ‘indefinitely’ and will now be held on an alternative date.

After more than half of the members of SAARC boycotted the summit, Nepal the current chair expressed its opinion. In a statement issued by the Foreign Office of Nepal said: “Nepal regrets that regional environment is not conducive to host 19th SAARC Summit scheduled for 9 &10 Nov’16 in Islamabad (Pakistan). As current Chair of SAARC, Nepal underscores the need to creating conducive regional environment for the SAARC Summit. Nepal will initiate necessary consultation on successfully holding 19th Summit with the participation of all member states.”

Previously, President Ashraf Ghani said the countries that continue to show double standard policies toward terriers must be pushed toward isolation.

“A ladder has been climbed the end of which is going to be isolation of those who tolerate or back terrorism. We have to have a resolve that terrorism is not a joke, it is not a tool, it is a threat, and it is the threat to all the values that in the last 200 years we have come to appreciate freedom of movement,” said Ghani.

President’s Spokesman Haroon Chakhansuri had earlier said that no Afghan official would attend the SAAR summit in Islamabad, terming lack of cooperation from Pakistan, especially in the war against terrorism as a core reason behind Kabul’s decision to boycott the summit.

Addressing the gathering which was organized in front of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Chief Minister Pervez Khattak’s guesthouse in Nowshera, Asfandyar Wali, who is also the chief of Awami National Party (ANP), said that Pashtuns always welcome guests.

“I am asking you (Pervez Khattak) are you a Pashtun. Do you have a hujra [guesthouse] or not? Because a Pashtun never send backs his guests, especially with such dishonor. Afghan refugees are our guests. How can you send them back in such a way? They should be send with honor and dignity,” he told the provincial government which has increased crackdown against Afghans in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

He asked the provincial government to end harassment of the refugees as it was against the code of centuries-old Pashtunvali. He said the KP chief minister should act like a true Pashtun and show true hospitality to the refugees and direct the provincial authorities to end harassment of Afghans living in the province.

According to the code of Pashtunvali, a host will always welcome the guests with open arms whether the latter is known or unknown. The unwritten code is seen as a constitution governing Pashtun society.

This is not for the first time that Asfandyar Wali Khan supported Afghans living in KP. In the past he warned against the harassment of the Afghan refugees and moreover, he proudly declared that he is an Afghan.

In his address during a really in Swabi, Asfandyar Wali Khan proudly declared that he was of Afghan origin and was still an Afghan as mentioned in the revenue recorded.“I was Afghan, I am Afghan and I will be Afghan.”

Furthermore, he criticized the Interior Ministry for ordering steps that led to harassment of the Afghan refugees.

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