LANDI KOTAL: The political administration of Khyber Agency has started demolishing houses of Afghan nationals in Bacha Maina, Torkham on Monday.
The decision was taken after a large number of Afghan nationals refused to comply with a four-day deadline to vacate the area and cross the border into Afghanistan.
Demolished: Houses of alleged facilitators razed to the ground
On April 7, the political agent of Khyber Agency noticed issued a notification in this regard and threatened to take stern action against anyone who refused to abide by this ultimatum. After the deadline lapsed, the civil administration and law-enforcement agencies razed the houses of Afghan nationals to the ground with the help of bulldozers and tractors.
According to a political administration official, the demolition is likely to continue till all Afghan nationals return to their country.
Another official of the political administration told The Express Tribune the decision was taken on security grounds.
Houses in Torkham being demolished using heavy machinery. PHOTO: INP
“Law-enforcement agencies have been repeatedly demanding [that Afghan nationals] should be asked to vacate the area,” he said. “So far, action has been taken against 318 families in the area - almost 1,900 people.”
The houses of Afghan nationals in the area were demolished for similar reasons in 2010. However, over the years, they have been reconstructed.
A majority of Afghans are involved in business activities in Torkham. Many of them claim they have been issued Proof of Registrations (POR) cards.
After the Army Public School massacre in Peshawar in December 2014, a large number of Afghan nationals were rounded up, arrested or sent back to ensure national security.
Afghan national arrested with fake Pakistani passport
Initially, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led provincial government said it would send all Afghans back to Afghanistan. However, it was later revealed the diktat only applied to unregistered refugees. Since then, many Afghan nationals, including seminary students, have chosen to leave on their own terms. A large number of Afghans who have lived in the country for several years have also left, though not without extreme hesitation.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 12th, 2016.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ