Angoor Adda controversy
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