JALABADAD (Pajhwok): Afghan passengers travelling to Pakistan through Torkham border crossing complain about their maltreatment by Pakistani border guards and have asked the Afghan government to address their issues on higher level.
The passengers say they are subjected to inordinate wait for hours on the Pakistani side of the border and even patients are not allowed to easily travel.
A Wolesi Jirga delegation arrived at Torkham Township on Wednesday to listen to travelers about their issues and request Pakistani authorities to resolve them.
Malko Khan, a resident of Gorgorai area of Haska Mena district, who freshly arrived from Pakistan, told Pajhwok Afghan News he arrived at around 8am at the border, but wasn’t allowed to cross until 11am.
An elderly man from eastern Kunar province, Musa Khan, who is still residing in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan as a refugee, recounted difficulties he faced while crossing the border. He said he frequently crossed the border but every time waited for hours on the Torkham gate.
He said hundreds of other people, including women, children, and even patients, experienced the same hardships.
The Wolesi Jirga delegation has been in Nangarhar assessing the security situation and visited the Torkham Township on Wednesday to know issues Afghan travelers face at the crossing point.
The delegation’s head and the parliament commission internal safety head, Saleh Mohammad Saleh, went to the zero point of the crossing point and asked the Pakistani border forces’ chief to help resolve Afghan travelers’ issue. The Pakistani side assured of needed help.
Later, Saleh briefed a press conference about passengers’ issues and called upon Afghan and Pakistani governments to resolve them.
“Earlier, when there was no need for passport or visa, people would cross the point very easily; but now travelers despite having visas and passports are tortured and tormented.”
He said checking visas on both the sides took time and led to overcrowding. Simplifying the process of exit and entry stamps would help resolve the problem to some extent, he suggested to both the governments.
Nangarhar provincial council member, Sayed Mehdi, who visited Torkham with the delegation, confirmed the issues of passengers, saying he observed the travelers’ suffering and torturing on various pretexts on the other side and their pointless wait for hours.
According to reports, hundreds of Afghans arrive at the crossing point from both sides on a daily basis, but only a five hundreds are allowed to cross and most of them are forced to stay in hotels for night.