Despite the hostile and unprovoked shelling from the Afghan side, Pakistan is committed to plugging loopholes in the border security mechanism by installing a gate inside its territory at the Pak-Afghan border crossing at Torkham to ensure that terrorists don’t enter the country from Afghanistan unchecked, officials told Pakistan Today on Tuesday.
The border crossing has been closed for three days as Pakistani officials have insisted that the border will remain closed until Afghanistan withdraws its objection to the installation of the gate well inside the Pakistani territory.
A well placed security official privy to the ongoing developments at the Torkham border told Pakistan Today that Islamabad had decided to install a gate inside its own territory after intelligence reports warned that Indian spy agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) had recruited Afghans for terrorist activities targeting China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
“We have prior reports that efforts already afoot to sabotage CPEC have entered a new phase with hostile Afghan forces making an all out offensive at the Torkham border. After the busting of the Kulbhushan Jadhav network, RAW is using Afghan terrorists for its subversive designs against CPEC,” the official said.
“Afghan forces started shelling to stop the installation of a gate inside the Pakistani territory alongside the Torkham border. The gate aims at making sure Afghans don’t cross into Pakistan without legal documents. Afghan forces wanted to thwart this effort. But such cowardly attacks can’t deter Pakistan’s commitment to plugging all the security loopholes,” the official said.
A senior official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told this scribe that Afghanistan wanted to scuttle the border management measures adopted by Pakistan for its own security.
“The attack from Afghanistan is a calculated move to blow the matter out of proportion. They want to create a new controversy but Pakistan won’t fall into their trap,” the official said.
“You see after the success of the operation Zarb-e-Azb, all the terrorist attacks were planned, monitored, funded and launched from Afghanistan,” the official said and added, “Many of the terrorists have been found to have entered Pakistan via Torkham.”
“Thousands of people move across the Torkham border each day which makes it difficult to manage it effectively. Hence, Pakistan decided to erect a gate at its own side of the border to check the traffic,” he added.
The official said that Pakistan had decided to restrict the movement of Afghan families coming from across the border within the country.
“Now they can move in and stay in Peshawar with a permit. But if they would like to move deeper into Pakistani areas beyond Peshawar, they will need a visa.”
He said that the Afghan families living alongside bordering areas are allowed to move across the border under the easement rights.
An official of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government told Pakistan Today that the illegal Afghans are a major hurdle in peace and development in the KP province.
“These illegal migrants are a major headache for us. They are involved in kidnapping for ransom, smuggling of weapons and other luxurious items as well as illicit narcotics trade.”
He said that illegal Afghan migrants arrive in and around Peshawar and kidnap people and keep them at isolated places.
“Later, they cross the border and call from Afghan numbers to the families of the kidnapped and seek ransom. With assistance from their associates, they receive huge payments in ransom,” the official said.
He added that Afghans are also involved in smuggling of weapons and illicit drugs.
“Strict border management measures is the only way to maintain peace and harmony in Pakistan. With the restriction of Afghans, we will be able to stop terrorist activities,” he maintained.