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Editorial: Storming the mission

Hundreds of people wait in queues before Pakistan embassy at Kabul in connection with visa have lost patience on Sunday and stormed the mission in reaction. However, the security personnel succeeded in bringing the situation under control with timely action. Sunday’s incident was not first or last or even confined to Embassy at Kabul. Similar incidents occurred in past whereas likewise protests and skirmishes occurred also in Jalalabad. Situation remain cordial in Kandahar whereas government in neighboring Pakistan is yet to implement its one sided crossing line security restrictions. In recent past, civilians while denouncing Pakistan’s policies towards Afghanistan have not only staged protest demonstrations but even they made attempts of attacks. Since 9/11 when Afghanistan has got a centralized system with former President Hamid Karzai as its head, both the neighboring countries announced “granting visa’s to each other’s citizens without any fees and charges.” And the system remains too much friendly, smooth and cordial till 2015. However, sensing weaknesses and compulsions of government in Kabul, Pakistan on one hand went on introduction of one-sided crossing line restrictions and on the other its diplomatic staffers have made complicated issuance of visa’s for those Afghan nationals visiting Pakistan for stock of socio-economic and health purposes. The situation went worsening day by day when the diplomatic staffers in Kabul and Jalalabad demanded huge amounts in bribe. There is no any agent system before of Afghanistan diplomatic missions in Islamabad, Peshawar, Quetta, Karachi and Lahore. But just for minting money on the name of visa’s, Pakistan’s diplomatic staffers have assigned the tasks to commission agents outside of Embassy in Kabul and Consulates in Jalalabad and other places. At Kabul if a person wants to get a visa within hour for Pakistan, he can do it with payment of 300 US dollars. And in return of 200 US dollars he could get a visa in a day time and 100 UIS dollars is meant to get visa in two days. Whereas in Jalalabad there is a fixed rate of RS 14,000 for Pakistani Visa in two days. The high ups in Kabul have time and again raised these issues in meetings with counterparts from Pakistan but the situation is still the same. Issues between the two neighboring countries are going complicated with each passing days. All these Afghans who are serving in government departments couldn’t visit Pakistan as they are being arrested, detained and even disappeared for the purposes known to Pakistani authorities as well. It is the time for government in Kabul to realize its responsibility at this crucial stage. Thousands of families from both the countries are linked up in relations. Millions of Afghans are depending in health and education sectors of Pakistan, therefore, the two countries need to evolve a structure for issuances of Visa’s, encouraging people to people contacts, strengthening of cultural relations and promotion of bilateral trade, which might be in beneficial to both the countries.

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