Belated but much-needed fencing

DESPITE various odds, Pakistan Army has taken practical steps to implement the plan for fencing Pakistan-Afghanistan border to take care of the issue of illegal cross-border movement that has become one of the main irritants in bilateral relations between the two countries. According to an ISPR announcement on Tuesday, phased fencing of the border has commenced beginning with fencing of high infiltration prone border areas in Bajaur, Mohmand and Khyber Agencies which would be followed by fencing of remaining border including Balochistan.
Fencing entire border along with establishment of forts and posts is, indeed, an arduous and cost-intensive project and one can imagine the expenditure that the country will have to incur on its maintenance and proper vigilance. However, no cost is high than security and defence of the homeland and therefore, the move has been welcomed by people of Pakistan. As both Kabul and Washington have been accusing Pakistan of providing safe havens to terrorists who launch attacks inside Afghanistan, they should have not only appreciated the move but extended every possible assistance to the country in accomplishing the task of securing the common border but regrettably they have been opposing it. There can be only one explanation that completion of the project and deployment of required personnel to man it would deny opportunity to both of them to accuse Pakistan of harbouring terrorism. Pakistan had proposed the idea decades back but it could not be executed because of lack of positive response from the other side. Now with increasing infiltration in Pakistan from Afghan soil, where Pakistani Taliban are enjoying refuge and hospitality of RAW and NDS, erection of the fence has become an urgency. The project is necessarily security oriented but it would also help check rampant smuggling and misuse of Afghan Transit Trade, which is harming Pakistan’s economy. Though the move is belated but also timely in the sense that the new American administration is expected to adopt a harsh approach towards Pakistan in relation to handling of the Afghan situation, therefore, fencing would also establish Islamabad’s sincerity to address the issue of cross-border movement.

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