Traversing K-P: Tank, Hangu remain out of bounds for foreigners

Policemen suspended for failing to check abducted Chinese national’s NOC.


Our Correspondent May 21, 2014
The official said since the tribal areas, including the FRs, fall within the domain of the federal government, those intending to visit the areas should consult the FATA Secretariat. DESIGN: ANAM HALEEM

PESHAWAR:


Tank and Hangu are the only two districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) that remain prohibited for foreigners.


According to government officials, the entire province – with the exception of these two districts – can be visited as an earlier bar on foreigners entering Malakand division has been removed. However, the seven agencies of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) and six frontier regions (FRs) of the province are still out of bounds for foreign nationals.

“Obtaining a no-objection certificate was mandatory for people travelling to Malakand, however, that restriction has been lifted and foreigners can enter the area after informing the Ministry of Interior. Our job is to provide all foreign visitors with security,” said an official at the home department. The tribal areas still remain prohibited, he added.

The official said since the tribal areas, including the FRs, fall within the domain of the federal government, those intending to visit the areas should consult the FATA Secretariat since that is the forum which deals with all issues pertaining to the tribal areas.

Earlier, foreigners would obtain permission from the K-P Home and Tribal Affairs department prior to their visit to the province, particularly Malakand division, DI Khan and a few other sensitive districts.

Policemen suspended

Police officials of the Kahthi check post in DI Khan were suspended on Wednesday for being negligent in allowing the missing Chinese tourist, Hong Xu Dong, to enter Daraban, DI Khan without a no-objection certificate (NOC).

According to an official statement, DI Khan DIG Abdul Ghafar Afridi suspended policemen of the Town police station deployed at the Kahthi check post after initial investigations found them negligent.

Dong, who was heading to Zhob district of Balochistan via DI Khan on his bicycle, was kidnapped by militants from Kulachi Mor on Monday. Police found his bicycle and travelling bag with his passport and other travelling documents intact. According to police, six armed militants travelling on three motorbikes kidnapped Dong at gunpoint.

Abdullah Baharm, a militant commander of a splinter Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan faction, claimed responsibility for the Chinese national’s abduction on Tuesday. Baharm claimed the tourist will be used to negotiate the release of their colleagues from government custody.

On Tuesday, DPO Sadiq Baloch claimed two of the kidnappers, identified as Ayub and Nizamuddin, have already been arrested and one of the motorcycles used in the incident had been recovered.

A search for the remaining abductors and the missing tourist is under way. An FIR has been registered against unidentified militants at the Daraban police station.

With additional input from our correspondent in DI Khan

Published in The Express Tribune, May 22nd, 2014.

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