Pakistan unlikely to budge on new border rules

Published: June 20, 2016
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Aziz says Pakistan will retaliate, if attacked again. PHOTO: AFP

Aziz says Pakistan will retaliate, if attacked again. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani and Afghan officials are scheduled to discuss last week’s border skirmishes today (Monday) but Islamabad is unlikely to budge on a new border management mechanism it is putting in place to ensure terrorists do not sneak in from Afghanistan.

An Afghan delegation, led by Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai, will be visiting Islamabad at the invitation of the prime minister’s foreign policy adviser Sartaj Aziz to discuss a nearly week-long standoff at the Torkham border.

Afghanistan declines invite to send its NSA, FM to Pakistan

Torkham – the busiest border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan in Khyber Agency – reopened Saturday morning after it was closed for six days following deadly clashes between the border guards of the two militancy-plagued neighbours. The fighting was triggered on June 12 by an Afghan security forces attempt to disrupt the construction of a gate well within the Pakistani territory.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office welcomed the Afghan delegation’s visit, saying Islamabad “looks forward to meaningful deliberations to promote bilateral relations as well as peace and stability in the region.”

Pakistan has started introducing a new border mechanism at the Torkham border from June 1. Under the new border controls, Pakistan has made it clear that no one would be allowed to cross the border without a valid passport and a visa.

Official sources say Pakistan will stick to its position with regard to the new border rules.

Sartaj Aziz has already spelt out Islamabad’s stance in a policy statement in which he said the new border rules had been introduced as part of the government’s counterterrorism strategy to check infiltration of terrorists from Afghanistan.

Pakistan, Afghanistan agree on ceasefire at Torkham border

He reiterated in a BBC interview on Sunday that the gate would be built at all costs. “Pakistan is neither violating any bilateral agreement with Afghanistan nor any international law,” he said and warned that Pakistan would retaliate if attacked again.

Aziz said the issue of terrorism and smuggling could not be tackled until some sort of border management system was put in place at the Pak-Afghan border. Almost 50,000 people cross the Torkham border without questioning. “These travellers include all types of people. We told Afghanistan in May that from June 1, no one will be allowed to cross the border without valid travel documents,” he added.

Aziz said Afghanistan wanted Pakistan to stop construction of the Torkham gate. “However, we are building the gate on our side of the border, and we do not need anyone’s permission.” After its completion, the gate, which, he said, was being built 30-35 metres inside Pakistan’s territory, would be opened for traffic.

Aziz said documenting travel at the border crossings was in the interest of both the countries as Afghan officials often complained about infiltration from Pakistan. “It’s essential as Pakistan’s and Afghanistan’s security concerns cannot be addressed until we have [identification] facilities at the border,” the adviser said.

Commenting on former Afghan president Hamid Karzai’s statement that Pakistan does not want to give Afghanistan direct access to India, he said issues could be resolved only when New Delhi agreed to dialogue which could happen when the two counties normalised their relationship.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 20th, 2016.

 

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Reader Comments (31)

  • Tp
    Jun 20, 2016 - 8:09AM

    US and NATO should provide armaments to Afghanistan in this hour of need. Recommend

  • Raheel;
    Jun 20, 2016 - 8:11AM

    Pakistan, in fact had been using and exploiting the war on terror for the establishment of its state and extending its boundaries. The second top beneficiary of post US-9/11 or the war on terror is Pakistan and now it’s entered into its final stage. What is going in Pakistan now is the reaction of the what Pakistan had done decades or during 1980 and thereafter to the innocent people Afghanistan and their generations. Throughout cold and warm war strategy the ultimate aim of Pakistan was and is to establish its state and extend its borders. Pakistan can’t make fool the whole world any more even USA and Kabul…they have understood the double or multiple game of Pakistan and its so called strategic depth. Recommend

  • Afghan
    Jun 20, 2016 - 8:19AM

    If Pakistan is not ready to budge on the installation of the gate, then what was the purpose of inviting the Afghan side. Pakistan’s last fifteen years slogan of peace and stability in Afghanistan is based on hypocrisy and is also in contrary to the fact, exporting terrorism is the arch of Pakistan’s foreign policy formulated by establishment.Recommend

  • SKChadha
    Jun 20, 2016 - 8:27AM

    British used Afghanistan as buffer between Soviet Union and British India for over a century till they recognize it as independent territory in 1919 with a working boundary (known as Durand Line). At the same time Afghan also entered into Peace Treaty with Soviets. The Pushtoon area was a buffer zone between British India and Afghanistan which is also reflected in agreement of 22.11.1921 between British India and Afghanistan with special rights of movement. Acceptance of Durand Line by Afghans as area of influence was with certain guarantees of trade routes unhindered with entire British India (including present day India). The partition (especially rivalry between India and Pakistan) have seriously affected the rights of routs and business of Pushtoon as well as Afghans with India which they did not accept even before partition and rescind the treaty considering Durand Line as boundary any more.

    The rights of plebiscite for Pushtoon Areas (i.e. FATA and NWFP) are well recognized, even by British while leaving Indian Subcontinent, in sec. 2 of the Indian Independence Act, 1947. The successive governments of Pakistan with its military might tried to usurp this rights of Afghan and Pushtoon since independence, which is reflected in various operations of Pak Army in this area. Successive governments in Pakistan tried to control media in this area and tried to make Afghanistan as its client state? It has also denied Afghanistan the two way trade routes with India and beyond. The issue is, whether it will work for mighty Pakistan which lost grip on its own territories like East Pakistan? If Pakistan is not bound by the Anglo-Afghan Treaty, how it can ask Afghan to be bound by the line drawn under it? And how it can usurp the rights of Pushtoon tribes for their right to freedom of trade and treval? Certainly, the Two Nation Theory has failed in the past and is further failing the Pakistan.Recommend

  • M.S.
    Jun 20, 2016 - 8:29AM

    Pakistan should never budge. Secured border and controlled entry/exit points are the only long term solution. Afghans and local tribes will not swallow restrictions easily but eventually they will learn to abide by the law. Recommend

  • Abbas Kaazmi
    Jun 20, 2016 - 9:09AM

    Bravo sir Sartaj Aziz.

    We shouldn’t be intimidated by firing at construction going on withing Pakistani boundaries.

    Afghanistan is definitely not pleased with how their movement into Pakistan is restricted now but no country on the planet allows 50,000 people daily into its borders without any checks. We’ve suffered enough because of terrorism leaking from Afghanistan into Pakistan.Recommend

  • Rehmat Ali
    Jun 20, 2016 - 9:17AM

    This is the brave step taken by Pakistan side.The matter is how long it will enforced.Pakistan side should deploy honest and good record holder immigration and law enforcing personals.If we compare Pakistan with stable countries.The most important thing in those countries is they focused on strict border management system and deployed loyal,honest personals and proper check and balance on their check posts.No body enter your home against your will if you are alert ,vigilant and armed .If govt having lack of force to safe guard thousands km borders,so no need to worry now millions of youth are job less in Pakistan due to not having job opportunities, industrial growth and economical development.Govt should recruit more enlarge its force from these millions of jobless youth.No doubt they are loyal,healthy and possessing patriotism too.Now we must stop blaming to others for outcomes of our wrong doings.Recommend

  • Jun 20, 2016 - 9:33AM

    Yes sir! Don’t budge, please. Enough is enough. We have given away to many leeways and concessions and are seeing laxity of administration for decades. No more! We must respect the our defined objectives of independence like all other nations do. Even with India, US, UK, and other countries. SalamsRecommend

  • Unknown
    Jun 20, 2016 - 9:43AM

    @SKChadha:

    Can I get some of the stuff which you are smoking? Recommend

  • leela4fun
    Jun 20, 2016 - 10:03AM

    Hmm… How come he did not do the customary warning of Pakistan being a nuclear power to spell out the retaliation?Recommend

  • Rehmat Ali
    Jun 20, 2016 - 10:04AM

    @SKChadha.Due to enormous political and geographic changes which have taken place in last 100 years in this region .Pakistan in not in the position to retain all those promises,agreements in to action to compromise on sovereignty of Pakistan. Now Afghanistan already direct dialing to India for its own interest so no need to look towards Pakistan.Recent attack on Pakistan soil already shown the depth of Afghan India romance.Recommend

  • vinsin
    Jun 20, 2016 - 10:06AM

    Strangest part is that Pakistan always objected and protested against border management by India. Any way good border management always makes good neighbors.Recommend

  • Hasnain
    Jun 20, 2016 - 10:38AM

    @Unknown:
    If you get it, give some of it to me as well.Recommend

  • Naim Khan
    Jun 20, 2016 - 10:44AM

    The border gates must be build at any cost, we in KPK put up with Afghans for too long now some one has realised in Pakistan that tell Afghans Pakistan is an other country, you enter Pakistan with valid passport and visa. Visa fee must be applied in US Dollars, it will help our treasury.and also send Afghans back to their country. Recommend

  • Khattak
    Jun 20, 2016 - 10:46AM

    Really?

    Did you ask Pashtuns about it cause they don’t care whether Pakistan would budge or not but they wont allow any lines that would separate them from their brothers and families!Recommend

  • Reader
    Jun 20, 2016 - 10:55AM

    Seal broder between Afghan & Pakistan once for all. We are sick of Afghan ranting about infiltration & terrorism and Afghans exploitation of our resources.Recommend

  • zeeshan
    Jun 20, 2016 - 11:05AM

    dude sirtaj, when you get some time, go check out the durand line treaty, according to the treaty people living with in five miles of durand line can cross the line (as i said line,it’s not a border, border is whole different thing) without any documentation. pakistan is violating durand line aggrement, do you think Afghan are in a position to back pakistan from what truly belongs to pakistan? no Sirtaj actually border gate is a violation of bilateral agreement. todoRecommend

  • Fast
    Jun 20, 2016 - 11:09AM

    Pakistan should must build gates and walls and what so ever it needs to stop illegal movements across the border.Recommend

  • Jun 20, 2016 - 11:34AM

    lol…Afghans will come and ask Pakistan to host the Afghan refugees / Afghan Taliban for another 1 year and the stupid Pakistan will agree.Recommend

  • King
    Jun 20, 2016 - 12:33PM

    Im wondering if afghan wants peace then whats problem in having check documents on border , hypocrytes ,n indian who are vry busy in propognda must knw there sikhs n other states who want to separate, n kashmir n they talking about hypocrsyRecommend

  • pashtoon of pak
    Jun 20, 2016 - 12:39PM

    @Khattak, going by ur logic, y not open wagha border as there is punjabi on both sides, and iran border as balochis also lives on both sides,Recommend

  • Rehmat Ali
    Jun 20, 2016 - 12:45PM

    Due to indirect involvement in Soviet war in Afghanistan.Pakistan not only got dollars,arms, ammunition aids and perks too.During 10 years 1977-1987 of (Marshal Law) people of Pakistan bought Roti at the rate of 50 paisas. So we as a nation also enjoyed this aid .Since then democracy took over the control,no development took place except corruption. We were labeled terrorist nourishing country.Lack of law and order and illegal weapons and less job opportunities for Pakistanis inside and abroad etc.For decades kept opening Afghan border cost us huge and we do not know long we will suffer from it.
    Those exclusive 10 years depend on aids kept our country out of real growth track in all sectors.So now stop making our people addiction to aids.And restore image of our country through fair justice system, good governance and strict border management system not only to Indian border side only. Iran and Afghanistan side too.Recommend

  • Rehmat Ali
    Jun 20, 2016 - 1:08PM

    Let Afghan people feel the pain and compare it from migrants people form India and Pakistan already used to since last 65 years Due to strict border management system between India and Pakistan after the partition.No entry without Passport and Visa.Recommend

  • Khattak
    Jun 20, 2016 - 1:40PM

    pashtoon of pak@

    Do it if you can? Excuse me are you really a Pashtun? staa noom si dai? Kochneeyaan cheera da?Recommend

  • pashtoon of pak
    Jun 20, 2016 - 2:13PM

    @SKChadha,dear. referendum did occur in NWFP, the people of NWFP did join union of india as a move to join new emerging country(pak), Later the British Parliament confirmed it on June 30, 1950. It declared,The Durand Line is the international frontier. The next important matter was the subsequent ratification and renunciation of the agreement by the succeeding Afghan rulers.The relevant documents in favor of ratification are the Anglo-Afghan Pact of1905, the Treaty of Rawalpindi of 1919, and the Anglo-Afghan Treaty of 1921. These three documents show that the Durand Line treaty had been ratified or at least accepted. Although Amir Habibullah in 1905, Amir Amanullah in 1921 and King Nadir Shah in 1930 ratified the agreement. check ur facts plz.Recommend

  • Pakistan
    Jun 20, 2016 - 2:18PM

    @Tp:
    Indeed this is what Terrorism is all about.Recommend

  • Mr. Honest
    Jun 20, 2016 - 2:19PM

    There are 50 million Pashtuns in Pakistan as compared to 30 million in Afghanistan. So Pakistani Pashtuns are the majority and in modern democratic forms of governments majority is authority. And 98% of Pakistani Pastuns in all major settled areas and districts are openly and strongly Pro-Pakistani.

    All said, border management is a compulsion and will be beneficial for people on both sides. Recommend

  • pashtoon of pak
    Jun 20, 2016 - 4:01PM

    @khattack, controlling the border is a basic entity of any soveriegn nation, we r pashtoons of Khalil and Mommand tribes, but proud pak as well, it was pashtoons who took active participation in making of pak, When jinnah came to FATA ,he was given warm reception and nehru received reception with stones,plz open the afghan border at tajikestan, iran side as same kind of people live on both sides of border, afgan even do not dare to cross the tajik and iran border as there they are welcome by bullets,Recommend

  • ilkhan@hotmail.co.uk
    Jun 20, 2016 - 4:19PM

    @Mr. Honest:
    Sir, just some facts.Afghanistan population 2015 estimate :32.5 million
    Ethnicity. Pashtuns : 35% = 11.35 million Pashtuns in Afghanistan !
    Source: CIA World Fact BookRecommend

  • ishrat salim
    Jun 20, 2016 - 5:14PM

    @zeeshan:

    Durand line is an internationally accepted border between the 2 sovereign countries. Yes ! Pakistan & Afghanistan allowed free movement of people & goods on reciprocal basis for a long time. But the situation in Afghanistan & Pakistan have changed strategically for the past 2 decades & both the country have been trying to point fingers at each other with regard to infiltration & smuggling. Hence, it was prudent to fence the border on each side to avoid such accusations, so, what is wrong in that if Pakistan build fence on their side of the border away from Durand line ? Durand line has been made controversial by Afghanistan govt but has been accepted by all the other countries of the world.Recommend

  • Virkaul
    Jun 21, 2016 - 9:52AM

    @Unknown:
    If you do not read history it is not others’ fault. Please familiarise yourself with history of Durand Line. Participate in debates and listen to views of others and then analyse. Smoking grass won’t help.Recommend

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