Torkham border sealed over Afghan officials’ torture on Pakistani labourers

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Pakistani security officials on Saturday sealed the Torkham border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, in response to the torture on Pakistani labourers by Afghan security personnel. Earlier, Pakistan had lodged a strong protest by summoning Afghan Charge d’ Affaires to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs over the incident involving 29 Pakistanis who were returning from Afghanistan and were badly beaten en-route by Afghan forces despite having valid travel documents.
The Afghan government was also asked to take appropriate measures to avoid recurrence of such incidents in future. A similar protest was lodged by the Pakistan Ambassador in Kabul with the Afghan government. The incident could hamper the efforts being launched to improve diplomatic relations between the neighbouring states. Pakistan, an important ally in the NATO alliance, had been given a lead role in facilitating the reconciliation process between Taliban militants and the Afghan government, and had recently released some Taliban militants to facilitate talks between both the warring factions. Talking to media, Pakistan Army official Colonel Mushtaq blamed Afghan officials for snatching passports of 29 labourers and subjecting them to brutal torture. “Afghan officials snatched passports of 29 Pakistani labourers, who were returning from Kabul after earning money,” he said, adding that the labourers were treated like prisoners by the officials. “The Pak-Afghan border has been closed from the Torkham point for indefinite period,” he added. The border closure has caused traffic jam on both sides.

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