PESHAWAR: The Consulate General of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in Peshawar organized a function to celebrate its 98th Independence Day on Thursday. Each year, Afghanistan celebrates August 19 as its independence day to commemorate the Anglo-Afghan Treaty of 1919 at the end of the Third Anglo-Afghan War. The treaty granted a complete neutral relationship between Afghanistan and Britain after the latter gave up control of Afghanistan’s foreign affairs in 1921. Dr Abdullah Waheed Poyan, Afghan Counsel General at Peshawar, welcomed the guests that included Counsel General of Iran Muhammad Baqir Beigi, Advocate Abdul Latif Afridi, Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Hashim Babar, Afrasiab Khattak and a number of nationalists of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Dr Waheed Poyan expressed that celebrating Independence Day was important for nations such as Afghanistan to remind its people the struggle behind the freedom it gained from the British rule. “King Ghazi Amanullah Khan called on all Afghans to rise against the occupying British forces in 1919. Afghans came out in unity with their own weapons and defeated the British forces to gain the status of a free nation,” he added. The counsel general stressed the importance of preserving independence and the factors that ensured independent status of a nation. “A nation needs peace, strong economy, educated population and a developed infrastructure to stand tall among other nations. Peace is what Afghanistan needs the most,” he said. He also stressed the need for joint efforts by Afghanistan and Pakistan for prevalence of peace in both countries. “Both countries depend on each other for peace. If one of us suffers from insecurity, the other will also feel the pain. Together we can defeat all our enemies and establish peace,” Dr Whaeed Poyan added. Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the Awami National Party (ANP) central general secretary, stressed the need for both countries to revisit their foreign policies. “This is an era in which both Pakistan and Afghanistan need to rewrite their foreign policies for the future of our next generations. Both countries need to shun policies of those opposed to peace in Pakistan and Afghanistan,” he added. Mian Ifitkhar also expressed that Pakistan and Afghanistan should let go of the concept of ‘good and bad phenomena’, when referring to terrorists that caused instability in one country or the other. “We have to respect the independence days of all our neighbours. We should celebrate such events to show our neighbors that we are with you in your good days and bad,” he said. He said that both nations should work for coexistence. “The Afghans living here must discourage anti-Pakistan elements by denying terrorists their support. Similarly, Pakistan should also discourage elements that do not want a stable Afghanistan,” Mian Iftikhar said. Hashim Baber of Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) and Iranian Counsel General Muhammad Baqir Beigi also congratulated Afghanistan on its 98th Independence Day and wished the country a bright, peaceful and economically strong future. Students of Bibi Ayesha School, an Afghan school in Peshawar, presented patriotic songs to the audience before known Pashto singer Rashid Khan and renowned folk singer Zarsanga took the stage to sing patriotic as well as famous old Pashto songs. Published in Daily Times, August 18th 2017.