Of fencing, terrorism and smuggling

Situationer

Tariq Saeed

Pakistan has eventually begun building a fence along its border with Afghanistan to check movement of the militants, a move that would also effectively check billions of rupee smuggling carried out between the two countries through borders.
The announcement to this effect was made Thursday last by the Amy Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa who said it was military’s priority to install fences along Afghanistan border particularly in dangerous zones like Bajaur and Mohmand agencies. Sources said additional technical surveillance would also be deployed.
While both the countries have routinely been accusing each other of harbouring militant proxies to carry out cross-border attacks, Pakistan has been the major sufferer with the militants from the hostile Afghanistan crossing into Pakistani territory at regular intervals launching ambushes in Pakistani security posts in our tribal region.
The two nations are divided by the “Durand Line”, a 2,400-kilometre (1,500-mile) frontier drawn by the British in 1896 and disputed by Kabul, which does not officially recognize it as an international border. It also splits the Pashtun ethnic group between the two states. Last year, Pakistan had completed 1,100 kilometer (700 mile) trench along the southern half of the border.
While the militants from the neighbouring Afghanistan have been crossing into Pakistani territory for the last many years and lunching assaults both on the security forces as well as the local people mostly in Bajaur and Mohmand agencies and Dir district, the Afghan National Army also spare no opportunity to launch assaults on the Pakistani security forces striving to restore the state writ in the region
In the process large number of men in uniform and the innocent locals including female and children have been killed by the intruders though in retaliatory fire the Pakistani security forces also mowed down scores of miscreants from the other side of the border.
It will be worth mentioning that besides regular borders with Afghanistan at Torkham and Chaman there are scores of unfrequented routs mostly at mountainous terrains in our various tribal agencies from where not only billions of Rs smuggling is carried out every month but also the terrorists cross into Pakistani territory without any difficulty.
“It is first time that we have started the formal fencing with the political government onboard. a security source said adding all the efforts made in this regard previously were local in nature.
On the other hand the Afghan government instead of welcoming the move that is aimed at curbing the terrorism and is expected to prove highly beneficial for both the countries, went for uncalled for opposition to the project that is going to be beneficial for both the countries. A spokesman for Afghanistan’s interior ministry Najib Danish while denouncing the move said his government had not yet seen any construction work. “We have not seen any signs of building fences along the border. But it is not going to solve the terrorism problem. It is only going to divide the people and we will not allow it,” he said.
Though fencing may threatens to disrupt the daily lives of communities who have traditionally paid the border little heed, with villages straddling the frontier that have mosques and houses with one door in Pakistan and another in Afghanistan, by and large it is going to benefit the country particularly the Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province that has been the major victim of the terrorism mostly routed from Afghanistan.
Infact Pakistan has been paying heavy price for the militancy imposed on this region by certain quarters as besides experiencing major terror attacks and explosions eating up thousands of innocent people as well as men in uniform, our security forces had to spend their energies and resources in defending the borders and fighting with the terrorists in our tribal belts mostly in Waziristan agencies.
We believe that all those who want terrorism and militancy be eliminated would definitely welcome the fencing along the Afghan border as this is expected to go a long way not only in curbing the menace of terrorism but also checking smuggling that is effecting country’s economy.

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