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Pakistan asks Afghan nationals to leave Torkham area

By Ali Jan Khan-PESHAWAR: The Afghan nationals residing and settled for decades in Torkham town, main entry point between two neighboring countries have been directed by political administration of Khyber Agency to leave within four otherwise action will be taken against them.

The action is being taken in according to what official claims, efforts for streamlining crossing over of Pak-Afghan border. Shakil Khan, Political Tehsildar Torkham said that the Political Agent of Khyber Agency on Thursday issued a notification, asking all Afghan nationals to leave and go across the border towards Afghanistan. Beside Afghan nationals, Political administration has also directed all land and property owners to ask their Afghan renters to leave and vacate their properties.

Reasons for expulsion of Afghan nationals from border town of Torkham couldn’t be ascertained but officials believe that it is part of efforts aimed at streamlining border security management in the area. Couple of days back Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Iqbal Zafar Jaghra had visited Torkham and reviewed the steps, being taken by political administration and other government departments regarding border security arrangements.

For the last several months, the Pakistani government is making attempts for discouraging illegal crossing of Pak-Afghan border at Torkham. In this respect, couple of days back Apex Committee in its meeting also attended by Chief Of Army Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif made a number of decisions. The Afghan government in general and tribesmen, living on both sides of the Durand Line are unhappy with such steps, particularly denying them right of crossing over the line.

Officials said nothing about strength of Afghan families, residing in Torkham but tribesmen believe that they are more than 200. Almost all of these Afghan families are engaged in trade, business and transport sectors. Similar number of Pakistani tribesmen, mostly from Shinwari and Afridi tribes are also residing in Afghanistan controlled Torkham.

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