In a bid to facilitate Afghans coming into Pakistan, the Federal Cabinet decides to abolish gate passes at the Torkham border. The decision comes as Afghans traveling into Pakistan on a regular basis complain of extortion at the border.
Pertinent to note, no officials in Pakistan have confirmed the news yet. However, Mansoor Ahmad Khan, Pakistan’s ambassador to Kabul, took to Twitter to appreciate the decision.
While citing SAPM in Establishment Shehzad Arbab, Mansoor Ahmad Khan said, “The decision to eliminate the gate pass will go a long way to facilitate movement of Afghan people to Pakistan.”
The decision of PM to eliminate the gate pass will go a long way to facilitate movement of Afghan people to Pakistan https://t.co/ObxzQjem5n
— Mansoor Ahmad Khan (@ambmansoorkhan) September 30, 2021
Pakistan recently reopened its borders to Afghanistan for trade activities. Afghans required a gate pass along with a valid visa for entering Pakistan.
However, claims surfaced regarding corruption by officials in visa and pass issuance. Reports state that officials demanded $500 US for the gate pass. Moreover, fake letters were being generated for these passes at exorbitant rates.
Now with the government’s decision to discontinue gate passes, Afghans can cross the border on a valid visa.
On another note, now that the Gate pass provision has been abolished, hope Pak govt would investigate who was taking the money to issue these passes and a scrutiny on previously issued passes as to how they were issued, and how fake letters were made for request of these passes. https://t.co/gLqsFTD9VU
— Anas Mallick (@AnasMallick) September 30, 2021
Tensions at Pak-Afghan border?
While PM Khan facilitates Afghans’ easy and legal crossing into Pakistan, reports come of border clashes between the Taliban and Pakistani border security.
According to the latest reports, tensions between the Taliban and Pakistani border security are growing.
Moreover, sources claim that the clash resulted in three Pakistani casualties. Even Kabul News reported on it. But on the other hand, there is no confirmation of the news from the Pakistani side.
Important to note, clashes at the border are not an uncommon occurrence. Back in August, Pakistani border forces clashed with Afghans stranded on Pakistan’s side of the border after its closure by the Taliban.
To clarify, the Taliban closed the border in protest to Pakistan’s decision to end visa-free travel for Afghans.
However, Pakistan could not agree to it amid fears of terrorists easily entering the country with the Afghans.
Nevertheless, as the Taliban settle in their role as Afghanistan’s new government, and in a bid to strengthen ties with Pakistan, they have repeatedly assured Pakistan that there will be no terror attack from their side.