An­goor Adda con­tro­versy

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - Arslan R Malik Email: in­for­marslan@ya­hoo.com

AN­GOOR Adda post was re cently handed over to Af ghanistan by Pak Army for strength­en­ing re­la­tions be­tween Pak­istan and Afghanistan. The In­te­rior Min­istry ex­pressed its reser­va­tions over this act. Peo­ple are ea­ger to know about the hid­den story behind the is­sue that how a coun­try could give-up its check post to a neigh­bour­ing coun­try sud­denly? What is the strate­gic im­por­tance of An­goor Adda? What are his­tor­i­cal skir­mishes re­lated to An­goor Adda? What could be the con­se­quences of hand­ing over An­goor Adda to Afghanistan? All these ques­tions need to be ad­dressed to un­der­stand this hot is­sue.

An­goor Adda is lo­cated at a dis­tance of 35 kilo­me­ters from South Waziris­tan’s regional head­quar­ters of Wana, which is a part of Pak­istan’s Fed­er­ally Ad­min­is­trated Tribal Ar­eas (FATA). It is si­t­u­ated at the Du­rand line which di­vides Afghanistan and Pak­istan ac­cord­ing to the Du­rand line agree­ment of 1893 be­tween Bri­tish India and Afghan Amir. An­goor Adda is named af­ter An­goor Khan, who was the first per­son to own a shop at that place. With the pas­sage of time the place be­come the hub of wood busi­ness and the bazar was given the name of An­goor Adda. The di­lap­i­dated house of An­goor Khan is still present near the Du­rand line.

Both the sides of An­goor Adda are pop­u­lated bythe Ah­madzai Wazir Tribe. Be­ing the peo­ple of the same tribe ,hav­ing same norms, val­ues, and cul­ture they all are in­ter­nally bonded to each other. These peo­ple were run­ning their busi­nesses in two coun­tries. They had been the cus­to­dian of bor­der at An­goor Adda for a long time as there was not any force from ei­ther Pak­istani side or Afghanistan side till the year 2000. Af­ter that Pak­istani force took con­trol of An­goor Adda from Ah­madzai Wazir tribe. Since then An­goor Adda has been con­sid­ered in the ju­ris­dic­tion of Pak­istan.

An­goor Adda was a bor­der cross­ing fa­cil­ity since the Du­rand Line Agree­ment. How­ever Afghanistan has been claim­ing it. This fa­cil­ity be­came a bone of con­tention when Pak­istan Army Per­son­nel started con­struc­tion of a proper com­pound and a gate nearly a year ago at An­goor Adda. The gate was given the name of Bab-i-Pak­istan. Afghanistan didn’t ac­cept that gate. As a re­sult there wasa huge up­ris­ing at the bor­der re­sult­ing in killing of 5 FC per­son­nel of Pak­istan. The con­struc­tion process was de­layed for six months and peo­ple from Pak­istan side protested against this de­lay. Since then the con­di­tions at An­goor Adda wors­ened day by day. The bor­der re­mained closed for the one past month.

While seek­ing bet­ter re­la­tions with the neigh­bour­ing coun­try, Pak Army gave An­goor Adda to Afghanistan. Afghanistan got the Adda, hoisted its flag, named it as Bab-i-Waziris­tan Post and sealed the bor­der for move­ment. They are claim­ing 10 kilo­me­ters more in­side Pak­istan. They have told their peo­ple that they are not go­ing to open the bor­der un­til they get the area which is still in Pak­istan’s con­trol. Ac­cord­ing to the tribal peo­ple, around 3,000 houses and 500 shops and mar­kets are si­t­u­ated in the bor­der area. It has be­come a prob­lem­atic sit­u­a­tion for the res­i­dents of An­goor Adda as they are un­cer­tain about their future. Peo­ple of Pak­istan side are crit­i­ciz­ing this act as it caused confusion about their na­tion­al­ity.

Afghanistan’s claims over ter­ri­to­ries of Pak­istan are rooted deep in the history when the Du­rand Line Agree­ment was signed with Bri­tish India, be­fore the cre­ation of Pak­istan, in 1893. The agree­ment was signed be­tween Sir Mor­timer Du­rand, the In­dian For­eign Sec­re­tary at the time, and Amir Ab­dur Rah­man Khan in Kabul. The line is thus known as the Du­rand Line.

Tak­ing off its forces from An­goor Adda, which they had con­trolled for years, is a large hearted step taken by Pak­istan. How­ever, if it was done of­fi­cially, with the con­sent of govt, it could por­tray pos­i­tive im­age of Pak­istan world­wide. The govt and ISPR must come out clean on this im­por­tant is­sue to avoid any con­tro­versy. — The writer is free­lance colum­nist, based in Islamabad

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