Peshawar police continue fleecing Afghans
JALALABAD (PAN): Afghan citizens say they have seen no change in police behaviour toward them in Pakistan's northwestern city of Peshawar, despite Islamabad’s instruction to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to ensure an end to the harassment of refugees.
Although conditions for travel to Pakistan were recently relaxed, police continue to extort them on entry into the city from Karkhano Market, a place that separates Peshawar from Khyber Agency.
"Police are still seeking money in return for allowing us to take our patients to hospitals in Peshawar," complained Ahmad Nabi, a resident of Qarghayee town in eastern Laghman province.
He told Pajhwok Afghan News at the Torkham border that he had been arrested by police in Peshawar a few days ago. He was released in return for Rs150 in bribe, the man claimed.
Nabi said he had taken his ailing mother to a Peshawar hospital. "Afghans who lack visas and other documents are allowed to enter the city in return for illegal payments." He accused Pakistani police of using various pressure tactics to force Afghans into paying money.
Another Afghan, Nadia, who recently returned from Islamabad, said the situation was more challenging for Afghan visitors in other Pakistani cities than in Peshawar.
She said Peshawar’s special branch police had been assigned with looking into the travel documents of Afghan citizens. "A visa for Pakistan is of no use without being stamped by special branch police, who demand huge bribes," Nadia alleged.
Yet another Afghan said if special branch police had an office in Torkham, most of their concerns about travel to Pakistan would be addressed.
An Afghan official in the border town said that most of problems previously faced by travellers on their side of the border had been resolved.
Nisar Ahmad said Pakistani border guards recently tried to erect a gate, but their Afghan counterparts strongly opposed it. Later, the issue was resolved through talks between the two sides, he added.
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