KHYBER: After implementation of the newly-introduced Individual Voluntary Arrangement System (Ivas) at Torkham, cross-border movement of Afghan nationals has considerably reduced since the start of April.

Officials of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) told Dawn that at present 2,500 to 3,000 Afghans came to Pakistan and went back to their country on proper visas on daily basis after imposition of ban on Afghan national card (Tazkira).

They said that FIA was tasked to check legal travel documents of all the Afghans coming to Pakistan and going back to Afghanistan. They said that more than 12,000 Afghans would travel between Pakistan and Afghanistan via Torkham border on a daily basis prior to introduction of Ivas.

“It is good that Tazkira is banned as it was ‘the mother of all ills’ and there was no effective mechanism of its verification in the previous system,” said officials. They added that Tazkira was simply a piece of paper and anyone was allowed to use it for multiple cross-border movement.

Officials say 2,500 to 3,000 Afghans come to Pakistan daily

“We could not detect a suspect person with Tazkira even if his or her name was on exit control list, stop list, watch list or barred from going out of Pakistan through any other means,” they said.

Officials said that there were still around 600,000 registered Afghan nationals only in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. They added that it was against all international travel norms that such a large number of foreigners would move across the border without having any legal travel document.

The drop in Afghan nationals cross-border movement was also authenticated by some Afghan nationals who had recently arrived in Pakistan via Torkham.

Bhai Khan, an Afghan trader from Kabul, told Dawn on his arrival that it took him only a few minutes to ‘go through all the barriers’ after crossing over to Pakistan on Wednesday.

He said that prior to the newly implemented restrictions under Ivas when Afghans would come to Pakistan in droves, the immigration process would take them three to six hours due to rush.

Zulfiqar, another Afghan national from Kunduz, said that they were also facing problems in getting online Pakistani visa both in Kabul and Jalalabad. “Seven members of our family applied for online Pakistani visa some three weeks ago and only I was issued a visa while the rest were refused for unspecified reasons,” he added.

Meanwhile, Haj and Auqaf department distributed Rs1.3 million among Christian families in Landi Kotal ahead of Easter.

MPA Wilson Wazir along with Additional Assistant Commissioner Ashrafuddin gave away Rs1,000 each to heads of 130 Christian families in Landi Kotal.

Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

Energy inflation
Updated 23 May, 2024

Energy inflation

The widening gap between the haves and have-nots is already tearing apart Pakistan’s social fabric.
Culture of violence
23 May, 2024

Culture of violence

WHILE political differences are part of the democratic process, there can be no justification for such disagreements...
Flooding threats
23 May, 2024

Flooding threats

WITH temperatures in GB and KP forecasted to be four to six degrees higher than normal this week, the threat of...
Bulldozed bill
Updated 22 May, 2024

Bulldozed bill

Where once the party was championing the people and their voices, it is now devising new means to silence them.
Out of the abyss
22 May, 2024

Out of the abyss

ENFORCED disappearances remain a persistent blight on fundamental human rights in the country. Recent exchanges...
Holding Israel accountable
22 May, 2024

Holding Israel accountable

ALTHOUGH the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor wants arrest warrants to be issued for Israel’s prime...