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Pakistani forces harass, extort passengers at Friendship Gate

11 Feb 2023 - 20:56
11 Feb 2023 - 20:56

KANDAHAR (Pajhwok): Pakistani militia forces have once again intensified harassing and torturing Afghans who travel through the Spin Boldak-Chaman gate.

Passengers travelling to Pakistan say the Pakistani forces misbehave with them, keep them waiting for hours on diffrent pretexts and extort them.

More than 20,000 people daily cross the Spin Boldak-Chaman border between Afghanistan and Pakistan for trade, treatment and other purposes.

Most of these travelers are residents of Chaman, Quetta and other areas on the other side of the Durand Line and Kandahar.

Muhammad Ismail, who just arrived from Chaman in Spin Boldak through the gate, said the Pakistani forces had once again started torturing and extorting people near the gate.

He told Pajhwok: “Difficulties had never ended on this road, but sometimes the atrocities increase to the level where one feels hopeless.”

“The Pakistanis harass people, insult them and delay them for hours and mercilessly beat them and force them into paying money.”

Many people whose relatives live on both sides of the Durand Line also travel on the route.

Juma Khan, a resident of Kandahar, said he has relatives in Quetta and they often travelled on the route to visit each others. “But we are disheartened by the difficulties created by the Pakistani forces on the way.”

“We have friends in Quetta, we want to visit each other, but we face so many hardships that we regret travelling on the Spin Boldak-Chaman road for years. Both countries should provide safe travel facilities for people on this road”.

He said the travelers included women, children and sick people,  but the Pakistani forces showed no mercy to them and often took money and other valuables from women.

There are people who have houses in Chaman, but they do business in Spin Boldak and there are others who carry people’s luggage across the gate.

These people also say their problems have worsened compared to the past and Pakistani forces treat them badly.

Muhammad Akram, who carries passengers’ goods on the road, said many porters possessed both Afghan and Pakistani identity cards, but they were subjected to violence and extorted by the Pakistani forces.

“We are porters and poor people. Some of us have both Afghan and Pakistani ID cards, but they still face problems and the militia forces take money from us. If we don’t pay them money, they will not let us work.”

He also urged that the Islamic Emirate to hold serious talks with the Pakistani side to resolve problems being faced by passengers on the border crossing.

However, officials in Spin Boldak district say there is no serious issue at the gate and people normally cross it.

Haji Mullah Agha Jan, the Spin Boldak district chief, told Pajhwok: “Whenever a problem has occurred at the gate, we have tried to solve it through dialogue.  There has always been a problem at this gate. We have tried to resolve it through dialogue. We will solve any problem through talks if arises.”

Besides these problems, currently only those having Kandahar and Chaman ID cards are allowed to cross the gate.

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