Pakistan has decided to keep open major border terminals on the Afghanistan frontier, it emerged on Saturday, in a partial reversal of the government's decision to close all border crossings during elections in the neighbouring country.
The government had on Thursday announced the closure of all border crossings with Afghanistan for September 27-28 for strengthening security in view of the fourth presidential election being held in the war-torn country on Saturday. The restriction was to apply to all cross-border movements except for emergency patients.
But a Foreign Office statement issued late on Friday said Pakistan had received a request from the Afghan Ministry of Defence "on very short notice" for border facilitation and opening of border crossings during the presidential elections scheduled for Saturday.
"In spite of security issues along [the] border, Pakistan will continue to support its Afghan brothers," the FO said. "Therefore, it has been decided to open major border terminals to facilitate [the] movement of Afghan citizen(s) across Pakistan Afghanistan border."
According to the statement, the request has been granted to enable Afghan citizens to exercise their right to vote during the presidential election.
The Afghanistan presidential election, which is taking place weeks after the collapse of the US-Taliban peace process, has been overshadowed by fears of Taliban violence on voting day.
In a statement issued last month, the Taliban had pledged to disrupt polls. They have denounced the electoral process as a ‘sham process’. The election campaign has also been marred by violence. One of the rallies that was to be addressed by President Ashraf Ghani, the leading contender, was attacked, while a vice presidential candidate was also attacked.