New restrictions inconveniencing Pak-Afghan cross-border travellers - Pakistan Today

New restrictions inconveniencing Pak-Afghan cross-border travellers

The federal government’s latest decision regarding the crossing of the Afghan border with mandatory travelling documents has resulted in several problems for thousands of people from both the neighbouring countries.
As per details, Islamabad directed officials guarding the Pak-Afghan border at Torkham to discourage people who cross over the border while travelling between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The decision was made after alleged violence took place against Pakistani nationals by Afghan security personnel. The act caused closure of the Pak-Afghan border for three days which reopened on December 29 after a meeting was called by Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Pakistan, Haji Mohammad Daudzai.
The decision has led to numerous problems for tribesmen who cross the border daily in connection with socio-economic activities. The re-opening of the Pak-Afghan border was made conditional yet every individual must carry travel documents on their person.
The act has however enabled law enforcement agencies from both the neighbouring countries to settle scores between them at the cost of innocent and helpless people who visit Afghanistan and Pakistan for socio-economic and health facilities. The reports from Torkham on Wednesday revealed that thousands of people are still waiting to cross over the border. Due to restrictions, some of them are compelled to bribe the security personnel and civil administration whilst some are using inaccessible mountainous routes to reach their destinations.
According to official data, around 30,000 people cross the border every day as well as more than two thousand vehicles loaded with goods, mostly supplies for US-led allied troops therefore making the Pak-Afghan border one of the busiest between the two countries. The Afghan security personnel are not the only ones to blame for acts of violence in the region.
Similar complaints have been lodged against Pakistani policemen and personnel of other law enforcement and secret agencies. Recently, an Afghan journalist while coming to Peshawar with sufficient travelling documents was arrested by Pakistani police at Peshawar. The journalist’s passport was taken and he was given someone else’s passport. He was then arrested and kept overnight at the Bhana Mari Police Station at Peshawar. The Afghan journalist was later moved to Central Jail Peshawar.
A recent decision by Pakistani authorities to have compulsory registration with Special Branch police for Afghans has fuelled anger amongst them. Upon arrival, the Afghan nationals are bound to register themselves with Special Branch police within 24 hours. In reaction to this, the personnel of Afghanistan police, army and secret agencies have chosen to give similar treatment to Pakistani nationals, visiting or contributing in the reconstruction process in Afghanistan.
In the recent past, Afghan authorities at every level have tried their best to ease the restrictions for their countrymen regularly who frequently visit Pakistan.
A few months back, Haji Deen Mohammad, former governor of Kabul and former deputy leader of Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan (Khalis), made a request before Pakistani officials to review recent restrictions on Afghan nationals. In particular, Haji Din Mohammad had requested Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to direct its police personnel to show better behaviour with Afghan nationals.

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