Pakistan to complete Afghan border fencing by August 14

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid asks foreigners to leave before the Independence Day or get their visas renewed


APP July 26, 2021
PHOTO: ISPR

ISLAMABAD:

Amid fears of a new Afghan refugee crisis due to the turmoil in the neighbouring country, Pakistan on Monday announced that the fencing work along the Afghan border would be completed by August 14.

Decades of war have driven Afghans out of their country, most into Pakistan to the east and Iran to the west.

Pakistan is home to 1.4 million Afghan refugees while Iran hosts nearly a million, according to UN refugee agency data from the beginning of the year.

The number of undocumented Afghans in both countries is estimated to be much higher. Pakistan has already ruled out taking any more refugees.

Read Meeting discusses fencing of Pak-Afghan border

Addressing a news conference in Islamabad, Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said that the fencing along the Afghan border would be completed by August 14, adding that 46 to 48 per cent fencing on the border with Iran had also been completed.

He said there have been thousands of foreigners living in the country over the last many years without renewal of visas.

Rashid asked these foreigners to leave Pakistan before August 14 or get their visas renewed through online application, adding that no fine would be imposed on those who apply for the renewal of visa.

'FIA to be developed on modern lines'

The minister said the cyber-crime wing of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) would also be developed on modern lines to improve its performance and efficiency.

A new policy of verification, renewal and correction was being introduced in Nadra for the computerised national identity cards, he said, adding that action had been taken against 39 Nadra officials in Karachi for their alleged involvement in the issuance of fake identity cards.

He said the same action would be initiated in other cities including Lahore and Multan.

Hybrid war

The interior minister said that India and Israel have started a hybrid war against Pakistan, and wanted to put a question mark on Nadra data.

"The new Chairman Nadra has been directed to issue the new policy within 14 days," he added.

Rashid also asked the opposition parties to refrain from issuing irresponsible and non-parliamentary statements. He asked former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to return to Pakistan and face corruption cases against him.

'Nawaz could cross any line to propagate agenda'

He said that the former premier could cross any line just to propagate his own agenda as he was against the army, establishment and Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Sheikh Rashid, while offering a chartered flight for bringing Nawaz back, urged him to return home and face court cases rather than making speeches from abroad.

Regarding elections in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, the minister said as he predicted earlier, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) could form government without the support of any other political party.

He said Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) managed to get two to three more seats by spending huge funds.

The opposition parties would cry foul even in the next general elections, he said, hoping that the ruling party would also form government in Sindh after general elections in 2023.

Noor's 'killer' to be placed on ECL

Talking about the murder of a former Pakistani diplomat’s 27-year-old daughter, Noor Mukadam, he said the name of Zahir Jaffer, the main accused, would be placed on the Exit Control List.

His name has already been added to the Provincial National Identification List (PNIL), the interior minister said, confirming that the father of the accused and his employees have been arrested.

"The names of the accused in the Noor Mukadam case would be presented in the cabinet this week for inclusion in the ECL," he added. Rashid said he wanted Noor’s killer to be sentenced to death and those involved in such acts.

 

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