Border fencing to complete this year: minister

Published January 23, 2021
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed addresses the media in Karachi on Saturday. — PID
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed addresses the media in Karachi on Saturday. — PID

KARACHI: Fencing along borders with Afghanistan and Iran would be comple­ted this year and it would help manage border securi­­ty and keep check on movem­­­­­ent of people on both sides.

This was said by federal Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed who, on the last day of his two-day visit to Karachi, spoke to the media at a local hotel on different issues ranging from politics to internal security challenges.

“It’s [fencing along the border with Afghanistan] almost 90 per cent done,” he said in reply to a question about the security situation at the borders. “Similarly, the fencing along the Iran border is also under progress. Though it’s expected to be completed within the next few months, to be on safe side, I would give a year to complete fencing along both borders.”

Says fencing along Afghan, Iran borders to help tackle security-related issues

The minister said Pakistan was about to complete fencing of its roughly 2,600km porous border with Afghanistan, that was launched in early 2017 to block militant infiltration, smuggling and other illegal border crossings.

“I salute our security forces,” he said. “They have rendered immense sacrifices to bring about peace in the country. They have done a great job again for better internal security and border management.”

The Economic Coordina­tion Committee of the cabinet had last year approved Rs3 billion in additional funds for fencing the border with Iran. The funds were in the form of a supplementary technical grant.

The 900km border begins at Koh-i-Malik Salih mountains and ends at Gwadar Bay in the Gulf of Oman. It passes through a diverse landscape of mountain ridges, seasonal streams and rivers.

The interior minister was confident that the fencing along the borders with the two neighbouring countries would help tackle many security-related issues within the country.

He didn’t sound much interested in sharing his thoughts on the current political issues amid growing demand of the opposition regarding the foreign funding case and its upcoming long march to Islamabad.

“We would welcome them with refreshment,” he said in response to a question about the possible government moves in the wake of the opposition’s long march on Islamabad. “What else should I say? They talk too much about foreign funding cases. One should ask them what really is it? They know nothing about foreign funding cases and this is why I fear that it would be counterproductive for them.”

Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2021

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