Tourist couple complains of harassment at the hands of KP police

Published August 27, 2023
A foreign couple in Jamrud Bazaar in Khyber district. — Photo by local Uzair Khan
A foreign couple in Jamrud Bazaar in Khyber district. — Photo by local Uzair Khan

A foreign couple alleged on Sunday that police in the Jamrud area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Khyber district harassed them — a claim that the authorities rejected, terming it “fake propaganda”.

Talking to Dawn.com, Slava Skolaniya — a Russian man who is in Pakistan for tourism with his wife — said: “We were travelling in Khyber’s Jamrud when we were intercepted by police personnel who questioned us aggressively and ordered us to not go ahead from there onwards.”

The Russian tourist said the police asked for documents, which were shown to them. Despite this, he said the police shouted at them in front of the public and forced them not to proceed.

“Some policemen were nice but one guy in particular acted really bad towards us and scared [us] so much by taking a photo of her (his wife) crying and me and posted it on social media [platform] Facebook,” he said, adding that the police also allegedly shared their personal information, including passport and visa details.

He said a local got them out of the situation, taking the couple to his house.

Skolaniya said the couple had visited almost 80 countries and loved to visit different nations to see various cultures and meet people from multiple diversities and ethnicities.

Meanwhile, Ikramullah Khalid, an engineer from Bisham Shangla, told Dawn.com that the couple had stayed at his place in Bisham last week. “They were so happy here and are now so upset due to the police behaviour and acts,” he rued.

Peshawar police, on the other hand, said there was “no truth” to the allegation.

After a thorough investigation of the incident, it emerged that there was no misconduct by the police, rather, the tourists were treated as guests, provided full security and taken to Torkham and later Peshawar, it said.

“The foreign couple was going to Afghanistan without informing on Saturday” in a local taxi, the police statement said, adding that the taxi dropped them off at Jamrud Bazaar/Bab-i-Khyber, following which a crowd surrounded them.

It said that police reached the spot upon seeing the crowd and asked the couple for their documents. The Russian couple’s English was “weak” which caused difficulty in communication, it added.

It further said the police dispersed the crowd, leaving the couple a bit shaken but no one tried to harass them.

The police statement said the couple soon left in a taxi, following which police in-charge for Jamrud post escorted them with a police contingent for their protection due to the present security conditions and stayed with them till Torkham.

At Torkham, immigration officials did not permit the couple to go to Afghanistan after declaring their documents incomplete and finding their visas expired. “After this, they were taken to Karkhano checkpost from Torkham under police security and handed over to the Peshawar police,” the statement added.

It said the police provided security to foreign tourists on a daily basis and called on the public to desist from “false propaganda” against the police.

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