Pakistan’s restrictions on Torkham go into effect
JALALABAD (Pajhwok): Pakistani authorities on Wednesday did not allow Afghans not having visa and other travel documents to enter the country through Torkham border crossing, Afghan officials said.
Afghan 301 border zone commander Col. Wali Shah Shinwari told Pajhwok Afghan News the new restrictions on Afghans imposed by Pakistan went into effect on Wednesday.
“The Pakistani authorities had told us they would not allow Afghans not having a valid visa and passport to cross the border from June 1. We have talked to the central authorities in this regard,” he said, confirming the Pakistani restrictions had gone into effect.
Earlier, Pakistani authorities would allow Afghans having refugee cards, patients seeking treatment in Peshawar and women and children to cross the Torkham border.
A resident of Torkham border town, Imranullah, told Pajhwok Afghan News the Pakistani side started preventing Afghans without documents from crossing the border from the early morning.
“Those who do not have passports are not allowed, even patients are not allowed and many people were sent back this side of the border,” he said.
He said there had been a great rush in the early morning, but it began reducing at around 11am.
A shopkeeper in the area, Javed Shena, told Pajhwok Afghan News the Pakistani forces were not allowing cargo trucks to enter the neighbouring country, but later some were allowed. “Pakistani militia forces say people lacking passports are not allowed to cross the border from and into Pakistan.”
Shena said there was no big crowd of people on Wednesday because people knew they would not be allowed to enter Pakistan without passports.
“By raising the issue of passport, Pakistan wants the Afghans to recognize Torkham gate as a port because Pakistan is pressuring its own people not to travel to Afghanistan without passports.”
Meanwhile, a member of the Nangarhar provincial council, Dr. Nasir Kamawal, told Pajhwok Afghan News the central government should talk to Islamabad on the issue.
“Most of our patients seek treatment in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and tribes on both sides of the border have blood relations. The issue of passport should not be taken seriously.”
He said the restrictions would create problems for many people.
The Nangarhar government had said it had informed the Kabul administration about the issue to resolve it through diplomatic channels.
A few weeks ago, Pakistan closed the border crossing for three days after Afghan security officials reacted to fencing the border.
Later Pakistan reopened the border but announced some restrictions on cross border movements.
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