No refugee camps along Afghan border: Sheikh Rashid

Published September 6, 2021
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed addresses a presser at Torkham border on Sunday. — APP
Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed addresses a presser at Torkham border on Sunday. — APP

KHYBER: Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has categorically rejected presence of Afghan refugees camps in the border regions and called upon the world community to beware of such baseless allegations of India.

Speaking to journalists at Torkham border on Sunday during his first visit to the region after Afghan Taliban’s takeover of Kabul, he said that he was at the border to tell the world community in clear cut terms that no such camp existed in any border area and the Indian government was spreading a totally false and baseless propaganda in that regard.

“I want to tell the Indian media in particular and the world media in general that 4,000 Afghans have entered Pakistan with valid travel documents and a rather greater number of Afghans have returned to their country after the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul,” said the minister.

He said that the world community should give credit to Pakistan for helping in evacuation of more than 10,000 people from Kabul on humanitarian grounds while India did not evacuate a single person.

Sh Rashid denies Pakistan interfering in internal affairs of Afghanistan

“We will provide 21 or 30 days of transit facility to anybody aspiring to enter Pakistan from Afghanistan. After that they would be allowed to go anywhere they want,” he said.

The minister also criticised the Indian government for its undue annoyance over the visit of Pakistan’s top intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief to Kabul and said as to why the Indian government was crying wolf on the visit as senior officials from the United States, United Kingdom and some other countries had also visited Kabul and met Taliban after their coming into power.

He said that Pakistan would refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of Afghanistan and would not allow anyone else to use Pakistani soil against it. He expressed the hope that Afghan Taliban too would respond in the same vein while adhering to Pakistan’s demand of stopping Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan from carrying out any terrorist attack against Pakistan from the Afghan soil.

To a query about Pakistan’s recognition of the Taliban government in Afghanistan, the minister said that any such decision would be made by the prime minister while going along with the international community.

He said that he personally foresaw formation of a new regional block in the current scenario that would formulate its own policies while not taking dictation from countries situated thousands of miles away.

“I want to tell the Pakhtuns in particular that this region is changing and this region is going to develop,” he said. He added that peace, stability and development in Afghanistan would also benefit Pakistan.

Paying tributes to the security forces for management of the border with Afghanistan, he said that additional staff would soon be deputed both at Nadra and immigration to expedite the process of immigration.

The minister hoped that bilateral trade with Afghanistan would increase after formation of an inclusive government at Kabul.

Earlier, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed was given detailed briefing about the security situation and the process of immigration at the border. The border crossing remained closed during his visit while strict security measures were taken during his stay.

Published in Dawn, September 6th, 2021

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