Entry via Torkham now denied without valid travel documents

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PESHAWAR: Pakistan on Wednesday made operational the border management system deployed at Torkham on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

Afghan nationals will now have to produce valid travel documents if they intend to enter Pakistan.

“Entry of Afghan nationals without a valid Pakistani visa will not be permitted now,” said an official from the border authority.

Due to the new measures taken at Torkham, a major crossing point on the Pak-Afghan border, hundreds of people belonging to both the countries were stranded amidst a large contingent of security forces deployed to avoid any untoward incident.

It was reported that Afghan authorities have not allowed Pakistani cargo trucks to enter, leading to heavy congestion of traffic on the roads in the area.

Pakistan has established 535 security check posts on the Pak-Afghan border, in order to check movement of militants and illegal aliens entering the country.

The Afghan consulate in Peshawar, which had closed on Tuesday in protest, opened on Wednesday.

Pakistani authorities on Tuesday had used loudspeakers at Torkham to inform people of the new measures taking hold from today.

Earlier in May, the Torkham border crossing was reopened after Pakistan and Afghanistan reached an understanding to reopen it.

The decision to reopen the border crossing was made at a meeting between Army Chief General Raheel Sharif and Afghan Ambassador Omar Zakhilwal.

The previously unscheduled meeting was arranged as old irritants in the bilateral relationship — rows over border management and terrorism concerns — resurfaced ahead of the upcoming meeting of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group, a four-nation initiative for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

Pakistan had closed the border crossing after Afghan authorities, who do not recognise the Durand Line as an international border, reacted to an attempt to fence the crossing for “controlling unauthorised cross-border movements”.

The move left thousands of people stranded on both sides of the border, be­sides halting the movement of cargo vehicles.

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