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Nawaz orders immediate reopening of Pak-Afghan border

Updated Mar 20, 2017 03:35pm

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Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday ordered the reopening of the Pak-Afghan border with immediate effect, a month after it was closed following the deadly Sehwan blast said to have been carried out by cross-border terrorists, DawnNews reported.

More than 80 people, including women and children, were killed and hundreds of devotees injured in the blast at the Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in Sehwan, Sindh.

The province's inspector general of police, A.D. Khowaja, had claimed that the suspected suicide bomber "appeared to be an Afghan national."

All border crossing with Afghanistan were sealed soon after the attack.

The decision to reopen the border was taken as a goodwill gesture as the two countries enjoy centuries-long religious, cultural and historical relations, the prime minister was quoted as saying.

However, the prime minister said he hoped the Afghan government would take measures to eliminate the reasons for which the borders were closed in the first place.

“Durable peace in Afghanistan is essential for peace and stability in the region,” Sharif said.

The premier was of the view that the prolonged closure of the Pak-Afghan border was against the interests of the people and economies of the two countries.

Earlier this month, Pakistan had temporarily opened the border at Torkham and Chaman to allow stranded Afghan nationals to return to their country.

The border crossings were opened on March 7 and 8, "in order to provide an opportunity to those nationals of Afghanistan who had come to Pakistan on valid visas and wish to return to their country", a Ministry of Foreign Affairs press release had stated.

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Comments (133) Closed



amumiya Mar 20, 2017 12:50pm

trump knows how to hold reigns of all wild horses !

nangialay Khan Mar 20, 2017 12:51pm

Both countries have strong cultural, religious and trade ties, both need to understand who the enemies behind are?

Fast Mar 20, 2017 12:51pm

Good step. After all we are two brotherly countries.

optimist rajput Mar 20, 2017 12:52pm

Keep it closed till Afghans make measures for border management. We have already suffered a lot because of Afghan infiltrators.

Hamza Mar 20, 2017 12:53pm

Bad Decision, we dont gain anything from this.

AW Mar 20, 2017 12:54pm

Why this drama - today it is open and may be closed tomorrow? It did not make any sense to close the border in the first place for security reasons. The bad guys are unlikely to travel on a visa and cross the border through immigration post which is manned with our own security personnel.

Foreman Mar 20, 2017 12:53pm

Terror activities from Afghanistan have stopped completely? No more killing of Pakistanis?

optimist rajput Mar 20, 2017 12:54pm

@amumiya What role did trump play in this matter?.

AmaR Mar 20, 2017 12:56pm

Just when there was some peace in the country a decision like this had to happen Safety is more important than economy mr PM

south Asia Mar 20, 2017 12:58pm

@amumiya @nangialay Khan Apparently all misgovernance in Pakistan is either resulting from USA or India.

The end is near Mar 20, 2017 12:57pm

Very bad decision. The final Nail in the coffin.

Ed Mar 20, 2017 01:03pm

Safety comes first.

Zainab Mar 20, 2017 01:02pm

It is high time to formulate well drafted public policies and ADHERE to them, be it the infrastructure, town planning or foreign policy.

Vaif Mar 20, 2017 01:08pm

Hats off to PM pakistan.

Zak Mar 20, 2017 01:05pm

Why he doesnt leave where his wealth is kept safe?

Foreman Mar 20, 2017 01:12pm

Looks like a request from India has worked due to heavy losses in import and exports.

Ali Uk Mar 20, 2017 01:09pm

@amumiya so you mean Trump is civilised?

zakir ali Afghani Mar 20, 2017 01:13pm

decision to close the border was absurd and for unfounded resons, After realization it had to be opened.

kpk zhagh Mar 20, 2017 01:14pm

Probably Mr Nawaz took notice of yesterday's news about Kinnows of Punjab being rotten on account of closed borders with Afghanistan.He did not bother to see or feel the sufferings of people stranded on both sides..

Syam Mar 20, 2017 01:12pm

Good decision. Prolonged Closing of borders was bad for Pakistan business.

Pakistani1 Mar 20, 2017 01:17pm

Have the goals which prompted its closure been achieved? If not then bad decision!!

Princess Mar 20, 2017 01:18pm

This news is as bad as an Explosion. The Drug mafia wins. The supply chain of Drugs to Asia was totally stopped . Has ever the UK mediated between Pakistan an India like this to resolve Issues?

wisal Mar 20, 2017 01:19pm

Before Nawaz do a real damage to Pakistan's security, strongly suggest for getting rid of him without any more delay.

RJ Mar 20, 2017 01:32pm

Wrong decision!

xtra Mar 20, 2017 01:27pm

Closing Afghan border or banning bollywood both are against Pakistan's interest. False bravado can last only for short term.

asgher Mar 20, 2017 01:34pm

Afghan trolls should remember this gesture!

GENGHIS khan Mar 20, 2017 01:38pm

@nangialay Khan , Perfectly said: Afghan Taliban enemies of Afghanistan; Pakistan Taliban enemies of Pakistan.

Waqar Mar 20, 2017 01:49pm

Worst decision of the year, they should take the opinion of Army. Keep the border close if we want to save our country.

bassam Mar 20, 2017 01:51pm

I dnt know what type of decision Mr.Shareef is making.

Helping Hands Mar 20, 2017 01:54pm

High time!

SURYA KANT AGRAWAL Mar 20, 2017 01:57pm

Good step, although not clear what triggered this sudden decision.

RB Mar 20, 2017 01:58pm

Bad decision...people who intend to cross border should hold valid documents and permission ...i have seen Saudi Arabia guarding its borders with its neighbors with stick control and measures...why can't we have control over border crossing?

RB Mar 20, 2017 01:58pm

@Fast Border control should be there even with brotherly countries as well...i have seen Saudi Arabia controlling its border ...with its brotherly neighbors

rich Mar 20, 2017 02:00pm

The decision was taken as a goodwill gesture as the two countries enjoy religious, cultural and historical relations, the prime minister was quoted as saying.

y, it developed today, was not there when the borders were closed

Mohammad aryubi Mar 20, 2017 02:14pm

For the record, the reopening of the transit trade routes are more beneficial to Pakistan then Afghanistan. The latter has learnt a lesson as a result of the sudden and unjustifiable closure of the transit trade routes.

syedchaudhrygangadinkhan Mar 20, 2017 02:10pm

Border was never closed. The gates at Torkham and Chaman were closed. That didn't stop any one.

jAVED Mar 20, 2017 02:23pm

Good Decision. I wonder who ordered it shut in the first place?

Fakem All Mar 20, 2017 02:24pm

Recent London talks and pressure..

Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad Mar 20, 2017 02:25pm

Why was it closed in the first place?

Sohail Wazir Mar 20, 2017 02:26pm

Remember Who is getting advantage of #PakAfghan 's escalating tension. I'm sure non of the both parties. Only third party. Why should we accused each other without any solid allegation. Both sides got agreed in London and reached an agreement to work together in curbing terrorism. Then who is attacking inside Afghanistan and Kabul, and who is attacking Pakistani checkpost adjacent to PAK Afghan border? I think there is some third party who doesn't want these two Islamic country to be friendly and trade remain flow. Think about this. And don't accused each other. #PakAfghan Brotherhood zindabad

iftikhaR bhutta Mar 20, 2017 02:34pm

Good step towards reconcilation issues with Afghanistan .

gulzar Mar 20, 2017 03:00pm

Afghanistan should look for permanent solution because this blackmailing will not stop here.

Abdulla Hussain Mar 20, 2017 02:58pm

@Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad: May be terrorists disguised as ordinary afghans were infiltrating.

Taimoor khan Mar 20, 2017 03:03pm

If god forbid there is another terrorist activity in Pakistan where the links are established to Afghanistan? Those 70 odd terrorists whose list was handed over to Kabul regime, have they been handed over to Pakistan?

Nasir askar Mar 20, 2017 03:04pm

We should keep one thing in mind, Afghanistan was, is and never will be our friend

Awais Mar 20, 2017 03:06pm

Poor decision and no Strategic thinking. They should tell us what has changed for them to be opening the border. What kind of incompetent leadership is this.

HAWK Mar 20, 2017 03:12pm

@Sohail Wazir . Disagree due to past experience.

MJK Mar 20, 2017 03:24pm

Mian Sahib , let us know what did you accomplish by closing the border? Whatever happened to the claim that terrorists responsible for the mayhem in Pakistan were sheltered in Afghanistan.

ahamd shah uk Mar 20, 2017 03:29pm

First thing first .Wipe out corruption, put your house in order and thereafter open the border so that thorough checks are carried out with integrity at the points of entry .It is impossible to foresee normalcy and stability as long as corruption prevails on both sides of the border. Further more the situation is more complicated and volatile by the presence of American troops and Indian intelligence operations in Afghanistan .Our government is corrupt and incompetent any way. They can make any decision.......

salman Mar 20, 2017 03:32pm

Is PM authorized to take such decision alone?

Fahd Mar 20, 2017 03:41pm

Stupid move! Keep the border closed!

RaNA Mar 20, 2017 03:42pm

So Mr. PM you did not order the border to be closed in the first place. If this is so, than what our the rival power centers working under your very nose?

amir khan Mar 20, 2017 03:43pm

Who are you trying to placate PM? Afghans know you can not be trusted.

Zak Mar 20, 2017 03:48pm

Nawaz Sharif undoing Rad ul Fisad.

jayesh Mar 20, 2017 03:55pm

@Fast reason is simple, pakistan export was suffering.

jayesh Mar 20, 2017 03:55pm

@optimist rajput yes, keep it close forever.

muhammad dar Mar 20, 2017 04:00pm

Goodwill gesture after: More than 80 people, including women and children, were killed and hundreds injured in the blast, what is wrong with you.

AQ Mar 20, 2017 04:01pm

Nawaz don't care about Pakistan security, Failed foreign policies from him are only in favor of his personal accounts.

Khattak Mar 20, 2017 04:11pm

@Waqar yes close india side border not pashtun side border

rahat Mar 20, 2017 04:11pm

Wise decision. It will reduce the problems of destitute people who are pushed and forced to live in a dangerous area made hell by big powers and proxy wars. Border closures won't help curb terrorism, terrorists hardly use formal routes to cross borders. There are hundreds of informal routes which need to be managed.

Torus Makto Mar 20, 2017 04:16pm

Another step taken for the exclusive benefit of the Afghans in the name of brotherhood, Pakistan can live with the closed border. Afghanistan needs to do more against the TTP and their sanctuaries on its territory that it provide to facilitate terrorists to deserve this gesture

timetostopthis Mar 20, 2017 04:19pm

Yet another U- turn.

Skeptic Mar 20, 2017 04:22pm

Must be a new BMW on its way through the border for NS to gift to his nearest and dearest to show his love and affection??? Must be someone's birthday in the family....

muhammad dar Mar 20, 2017 04:25pm

@jayesh exports are more important then people to get killed.

Nahrad Muni Mar 20, 2017 04:30pm

Afghanistan asked Britain to put heavy pressure on Pakistan to open border. It happened last week in London. Read London times..

Make Pakistan great Mar 20, 2017 04:31pm

Didn't we know of the centuries long religious, cultural and historical relations when we decided to close the borders between our two countries? The explanations given every time are nauseating. It would have been better if the act was done without such hackneyed verbosity.

Ms Mar 20, 2017 04:26pm

Not a good decision, just the other day Dawn reported our troops embraced Shahadat. The terrorist from Afghanistan are still roaming free.

M.Saeed Mar 20, 2017 04:36pm

Let us be practical and bell the troublesome cat without reservations.

Say it Mar 20, 2017 04:36pm

@Zainab ...well said!

ZAHEER Mar 20, 2017 04:40pm

Until and unless the Afghan soil terrorists using Afghan soil against Pakistan the reopening of border will harm the country. The India is using Afghan land for attack on our soldiers and check posts and our Army is busy in Operation Raddul Fasad this reopening will highly affect our country's interest. Premier should review his decision in the interest of the country and its people.

AKB Mar 20, 2017 04:51pm

A positive step by the Government.

mywahala Mar 20, 2017 04:57pm

@ZAHEER i hope you don't think people know who your'e referring to??

mywahala Mar 20, 2017 04:55pm

@Skeptic it must be, maybe wahalas!

azam Kadeer Mar 20, 2017 05:07pm

this territory is very dangerous. need really educated people with wisdom who can spread the right message so people do not get deviated. same time we must build the wall and have border protected and have good thoroughly check before any one can enter. need to keep border open so trade can continue so people do not suffer

Iftikhar Husain Mar 20, 2017 05:10pm

I hope the attitude of Afghanistan towards Paistan will change for the better relations.

Sab se pehle pakistan Mar 20, 2017 05:11pm

Once again bad decision by PML-N government. A decision based on personal vested interest.

Afghan-Pashtun Mar 20, 2017 05:15pm

@nangialay Khan : We have no cultural ties with Pakistan or history other than being Muslims we have nothing in common. I think you misunderstand who Afghans considers enemy and who Pakistan considers enemy. We have different perspective. Majority of Trade is between Pashtuns.

Nadeem Mar 20, 2017 05:16pm

Dear Prime Minister you can't open it. I wish to challenge your decision in the Supreme Court

M. IRFaN Mar 20, 2017 05:18pm

@Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad Very sensible question from you doc for a change.

Muslim Mar 20, 2017 05:24pm

No more vote for PMLN

M. IRFaN Mar 20, 2017 05:30pm

When borders were closed it was great decision by Gen. Bajwa and his army. Now the borders opened blame Nawaz Sharif. Something is seriously wrong with us.

Raja Farhat Abbas Mar 20, 2017 05:26pm

@Sohail Wazir Very sensible comment and food for thought.

Ali Mar 20, 2017 05:27pm

Nawaz never spares any opportuniy to make himself act a king.

Amin Mar 20, 2017 05:32pm

Bad decision

Black Indian Mar 20, 2017 05:33pm

Two step forward , two step backward... ! Appears to very poor thinking.

edu Mar 20, 2017 05:37pm

Message was delivered. Good decision.

Sukhera Mar 20, 2017 05:45pm

The decision to close the Pak-Afghan border was hastily taken and without any merit. In order to curb the terrorism in the country, we need to strengthen our procedures and no one should be allowed to enter the country without thorough investigation and a valid Visa. We also need to cooperate with Afghan Govt and there should be no sanctuaries on either county for terrorists. We should never stop the food and the Medicine to Afghanistan.

Shakaibul hassan Mar 20, 2017 05:51pm

The closure of the border will not render any benefit instead it will inflic already baffled economiws of pakistan and afghanistan A long lasting and durabel solution is to hold strict checking on the people entering in the country And frame a joint border management mechanism to control the inflitration of terrorists. The high echelons of both the countries should avoid to blame eachother, as this will only strengthen the terrorits.

edu Mar 20, 2017 05:52pm

@M.Irfan We can be characterized as a biased, undemocratic, corrupt, brainless nation. When I say this I mean the people. There is not much difference between Trump supporters.

san Mar 20, 2017 05:57pm

No more good gestures needed to show when they don't care.

Raja Farhat abbas Mar 20, 2017 06:08pm

@Afghan-Pashtun ...If the trade is between Pakhtuns then why are you Afghans spread all over Pakistan in cities like Karachi,Quetta,Multan,Jhelum city and Lahore etc.I am glad you said we have nothing in common with you Afghans also remember Pakistani Pakhtuns are the most patriotic Pakistani's and they are not to be fooled with!!.

Mo Mar 20, 2017 06:20pm

@Mohammad aryubi right....its all about us. Thank u so much afghans forletting us know.

Sam Mar 20, 2017 06:37pm

Does not make sense. Both countries had strong cultural, religious and trade ties last month too. What changed now? Hope some measures have been taken to ensure infiltration does not happen. Otherwise, this series of decisions don't make sense.

edu Mar 20, 2017 06:39pm

@Afghan Pashtun While I may be a critic of my people, at least there is a segment of society that tries to keep checks and balances. From what I can see Afghans have been fighting for so long they don't know the meaning of peace. The last things you would want to say is we have 'nothing in common'. If thats so then I wonder why history suggests Ranjit Singh of Punjab and Shah Abdali of Afghanistan were linked to the region and till this day why millions of Afghans are allowed to live and do business in every part of my country.

edu Mar 20, 2017 06:56pm

@Raja Farhat Abbas They forget how they are treated in Iran.

Masood Hussain Mar 20, 2017 06:59pm

Let sense prevail on the other side as well.

NangiAlAy khan Mar 20, 2017 07:08pm

@Afghan-Pashtun .... I think you need to focus on map topography, you will come to know what commons are between us.

AmaR Mar 20, 2017 07:14pm

@M. IRFaN your comment does not make sense it says ok the headline of this article nawaz sharif is opening the border and no one gave general Bajwa credit instead they gave credit to army and government

DW Mar 20, 2017 07:16pm

Dumb decision by Nawaz and BTW I am a Pakistani Pakhtun. Nothing good will come out of it

Zak Mar 20, 2017 07:24pm

The decision to reopen the border was taken as a goodwill gesture as the two countries enjoy centuries-long religious, cultural and historical relations, the prime minister was quoted as saying.

Now that is true and a good gesture. Afghan's considers Pakistan, a second home but some terrorists spoil the relationship.

RIZ Mar 20, 2017 07:29pm

Nawaz Sharif should resign immediately if there will be more terror attacks in Pakistan as we all know Afghanistan is directly and indirectly involved in terror attacks.

Rabia Mar 20, 2017 07:40pm

I find that statement hard to accept "Nawaz orders immediate opening of..." Can the prime minister of even a supposedly democratic country really 'order' anything like this, like a king? Would this be better as 'the border re-opens after the cabinet decided that...' That is after all how it should work, and if it doesn't there's something wrong there.

Pakistani Pakhtun Mar 20, 2017 07:45pm

@Afghan-Pashtun ; First of all the proper term is Pakhtun not Pashtun. Second please stop pretending to be something you are not. We have more Pakhtuns in Pakistan than you have in Afghanistan. In fact Afghan Pakhtuns are treated as a second class citizens by Farsiwans. Please stop posting shallow comments on the forum and show some class. You make all of us Pakhtuns look bad

Observer Mar 20, 2017 07:55pm

@rahat I support your views.

Shah Mar 20, 2017 08:03pm

Border management is the answer. Only people with valid documents and visa should be allowed to come in.

Syed Ahmed Mar 20, 2017 08:06pm

Really dumb to get emotional and weak again and again. At least wait till the Afghan govt does something about terrorism. Why are our leaders so weak? I don't want to hurt Afghan people, but the safety of our people comes first. At least announce that limited number of people will be allowed to come in after being thoroughly vetted. Its either complete blockage or completely open. What kind of policy is this? When you say something, then stick to it, which our leaders never do, and this is why no one takes them seriously.

M. Ahmed Mar 20, 2017 08:17pm

I think Pakistan has made a point and hope Afghanistan will learn one or two things from it.

Zak Mar 20, 2017 08:19pm

Rad Ul Fisad must continue more strictly across border crossings.

M. Ahmed Mar 20, 2017 08:16pm

@AW : yes it caused lot of problems for average citizen but than you can't be guest staying temporarily and misbehave and threaten security of Pakistan.

LAHORI KID Mar 20, 2017 08:48pm

Lets be honest here, our government is reactive, there is no planning and certainly no proper follow ups. If the government was to prioritize public safety, health and the over all interests that effect us on daily basis, the people would not suffer., as much.

rao abid Mar 20, 2017 11:32pm

good decision i think to control subversive and sabotage action pakistan soil.

Thought Mar 20, 2017 11:34pm

Terrible decision , NS forgotten the previous consequences by being too friendly with Afghans!

brr Mar 20, 2017 11:34pm

So what was it all about?

Thought Mar 20, 2017 11:33pm

@zakir ali Afghani if you ask people of Pakistan majority will say to keep it close to unthank nation

Change Mar 20, 2017 11:37pm

The main reason of Afghan crises was NWO change in Afghanistan, which is a good change, but Indian Muslims had ignited west to such an extent against this region that west had made an ugly mistake of their history in haste. Although this change has shown good results in the region, but Indian Muslims have turned a good change into a Loose Change for them and so much was lost to bring this change. I appreciate them and wish them achieve their good cause and hope this crises comes to an end soon.

Pakistani Mar 20, 2017 11:46pm

@wisal Not only him but all other corrupt politicians too, especially Mr. Zardari. I was watching an interview of Missionary Tahmina Khar, the ex foreign minister in Zardari regime. She was bragging on her accomplishment as a foreign minister. Mind boggling, how these kind of people can come on national TV and have odisity to twist the facts.

Khan USA Mar 21, 2017 12:05am

Immediate closure and immediate opening simply says that we have no policy ! Our policies are run by gut feelings and prrsonal choices !

Yawar Kazmi Mar 21, 2017 01:15am

@Fast we aren't.

Omar Mar 21, 2017 02:28am

King Nawaz and his orders.!

Azhar Hussain Mar 21, 2017 04:09am

Why not keep the border closed for incoming traffic and open the open in their directions so that we can empty our country of all Afghans.

Sajjad akbar Mar 21, 2017 04:17am

@LAHORI KID. Quite right but the problem is 'public safety, health and the over all interests that effect us on daily basis' are not on the priority list of our Government. End of story!

amir Balouch Mar 21, 2017 04:22am

@south Asia, its easy and general human nature to blame others.

Abc of politics Mar 21, 2017 04:33am

A step in right direction,trade & travel has nothing to do,with politics.

flipflop Mar 21, 2017 04:36am

@Zainab This is quite impossible considering the current leadership we have. Infact no politician has the caliber to lead us. There's little hope from Imran Khan as he's very aggressive but I doubt he will win the next elections.

Arif Mar 21, 2017 06:17am

Good decision! Time for Afghans to do more. Pakistan and Afghans must work together instead of fighting.

Sara Mar 21, 2017 07:23am

Sharifs were loosing business..

Riz Mar 21, 2017 07:48am

Afghanis are our brithers and sisters, a good act from our PM.

Azhar Awan Mar 21, 2017 08:00am

Afghan government will never work with Pakistan. This appratus that American placed over people of Afghan will never work

merit Mar 21, 2017 09:14am

the prime minister said he hoped the Afghan government would take measures to eliminate the reasons for which the borders were closed in the first place.

Simply amazing.

S.A.Hyder, PH.d. Mar 21, 2017 06:33pm

@Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad: A better question is: Why was it ever open?

El Cid Mar 21, 2017 09:16pm

A humanitarian goodwill decision. Let healing begin. I like it.

LAHORI KID Mar 21, 2017 10:02pm

@Sajjad akbar Exactly my point.

Ch. K. A. Nye Mar 22, 2017 11:41am

@LAHORI KID ... but... but... there is no money in public health, safety and overall interests. There is however money in big-ticket, grandiose projects.