LANDI KOTAL: Border guards at the Torkham border on Saturday stopped small-time Jamrud traders from crossing into Afghanistan for not having Afghan visa stamped on their passports.
Sources said that a number of auto-parts dealers crossed the Torkham border into Afghanistan twice a week in connection with their business while carrying along their Pakistani passport and Computerised National Identity Card as per official requirement for crossing of Torkham border for local tribesmen.
They said that no such restrictions were imposed on them prior to Saturday as they used to cross the border without having Afghan visa.
They said that the government had made it mandatory for local residents to carry their passports and CNICs for verification at the border though the Afghan authorities had not imposed visa restrictions on Khyber tribesmen on their entry into Afghanistan.
Say officials asked them about visa for the first time
The officials posted at the main crossing point demanded of a group of local traders on Saturday to have Afghan visa stamped on their passports prior to crossing the border. They were returned as none of them had a valid visa.
Gul Mohammad, an auto-parts trader from Jamrud, told this correspondent that tribesmen from only the Jamrud subdivision were refused entry into Afghanistan while others were granted permission on production of the passport and CNIC.
He said that they were never asked about Afghan visa on their passports nor had the Afghan border authorities ever objected to their frequent cross-border movement in connection with their business.
DOMICILE FORM MODIFIED: The administration in Khyber tribal area started issuing domicile certificates after some modifications were made in the form in line with the requirements of tribal regions’ merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Officials in Landi Kotal told this correspondent that the urgent step was taken in light of the problems being faced by local students in getting admissions to colleges after passing their Secondary School Certificate examinations.
Meanwhile, members of International Monitoring Board Fredrek Were and Francis James Mahoneyvisited Khyber tribal area on Saturday to monitor vaccination at the civil dispensary Sultankhel, Landi Kotal, and international cross-border point of Torkham.
During their visit, they interviewed parents, spoke with the community and took briefs from the field teams. Fredrek Were said on the occasion that the tribal districts polio programme had made unprecedented progress despite many odds.
The delegation also had a meeting with additional chief secretary Sikandar Qayyum and deputy commissioner Islam Zaib to discuss challenges to the polio eradication programme.
Published in Dawn, July 8th, 2018