Pakistan moves ahead with border fencing, reports CRSS

Following up on the government’s promise to reinforce and improve management of the 2,650 km border with Afghanistan, Pakistan’s Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa (on May 08) formally inaugurated the construction of fences along the border near Panjpai area of Balochistan.

Talking to tribal elders and local people on the occasion, Gen Bajwa said that fencing would help in checking the movement of terrorists on the border.

Officials say fencing of the border is part of the government’s counter-terrorism efforts. The Army has already completed work on a 5 km-long fence on the border near Panjpai. In total 1,268 km long fences would be erected at various locations along the Pak-Afghan border, which Afghans call the Durand Line.

Afghan officials have been critical of the border fencing by Pakistan. They maintain that since the Line was drawn by the British Colonial rulers over a century ago, it has yet to be settled.

Pakistan calls it border – as it is an internationally recognized boundary and says it would do anything necessary to make it secure against all kinds of illegal human and material trafficking.

Islamabad also opened the third international border crossing at Ghulam Khan, North Waziristan, early this month to facilitate trade across the border. Torkham and Chaman are the other two formal crossings between the two countries.

According to official sources, 250 Frontier Corp forts – one at every 3 km – would be built and 16 feet high watchtowers will be built at every kilometre to ensure proper monitoring of the border.

© Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) and Afghan Studies Center (ASC), Islamabad.

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