LANDI KOTAL: The Khyber Agency political administration and Frontier Corps have introduced new identification cards for local customs clearing agents and Afghan students enrolled in private schools at Pakistan side of Torkham border.

Through a notice issued in Torkham on Friday, the local administration directed all registered customs clearing agents and principals of private schools in Bacha Maina area near the border to approach Nadra offices in Torkham for getting new cards on July 10 (Monday).

The first of its kind introduced at any of the border crossings with Afghanistan, the computer readable Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) cards will be issued to around 200 customs clearing agents verified by the Torkham customs offices.

Officials say cards will reveal particulars of their holders when used in Nadra system

A total of 270 had submitted documents to the relevant authorities of late.

The officials told Dawn that principals of at least three private schools had also furnished names and related documents of around 160 Afghan students for the RFID cards to be issued on Monday.

They said all relevant data of custom clearing agents and Afghan students had been fed into computer systems at the Nadra office at Torkham.

The officials said the applicants would get plain computer readable cards revealing all information to the Nadra system when inserted for identification.

They said all such cardholders would be allowed multiple border crossings and would be exempted from repeated and prolonged verification process.

After the unilateral implementation of border management policy in June last year, Pakistan had banned Afghan nationals from entering its territories via the Torkham border without legal travel documents.

In March this year, Pakistani authorities had made it mandatory for all local traders, transporters and businessmen to carry their national passports while crossing over to Afghanistan.

In the meantime, the local political administration had canceled all temporary rahdari cards issued to tribesmen living on both sides of the border, mostly Shinwaris.

The officials said over 4,000 such cards were issued since Sept 2015 in order to facilitate frequent cross border movement of Shinwari tribesmen for running of their personal businesses.

The FC had also stopped nearly 300 Afghan students from attending their classes in private schools of Bacha Maina area in Torkham as the border crossing was reopened on March 21 after remaining closed for almost five weeks due to Pakistan reservations over Afghan government’s failure to stop the militants’ entry into Pakistan through common borders.

Meanwhile, the elderly and female Afghan patients have complained about lack of facilities at the Torkham border and demanded the lifting of ban on handcarts for their movement and construction of a shade over the footpath.

CONTRABAND SEIZED: The Khasadar personnel on Friday arrested an Afghan national after seizing 12 kilogrammes of charas here.

The arrest was made when Niaz Mohammad tried to enter Pakistan through an unfrequented route on Thursday night.

Also in the day, the Khasadar personnel recovered 87 kilogrammes of charas from two cars on the Jamrud Bypass Road and at the Bhagiyari checkpost during routine checking. They also arrested two drug smugglers and seized their vehicles.

Meanwhile, security officials said two mortar shells were fired from Afghan side of the border in Loe Shalman area early on Friday.

They said the shells fell near the Tor Morr security checkpost in Loe Shalman area but didn’t cause any damage to public life or property.

Published in Dawn, July 8th, 2017