Pakistan will next month reactivate a biometric computerised system to screen all travellers crossing a key Afghan border terminal, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said. — File photo

CHAMAN: Pakistan will next month reactivate a biometric computerised system to screen all travellers crossing a key Afghan border terminal, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said Wednesday.

Pakistan installed the system on a trial basis in January 2007 to try and control illegal cross-border traffic at Chaman, 100 kilometres from Quetta, the main town in insurgency-wracked Balochistan province.

But on the second day, thousands of Afghan tribesmen attacked the border gates, forcing authorities to close the crossing. The protest was against the biometric system, and a Pakistani plan to fence and mine parts of the border.

Further protests saw Pakistan to shelve the system.

“We have decided to reactivate the biometric system. I will inaugurate it on November 30, next month,” Malik told reporters in Chaman.

“Both Pakistan and Afghanistan need this system. It is necessary to keep an eye on everyone crossing the border and to stop illegal immigrants,” he added.

The system is designed to replace the previous permit system, by issuing border passes to people after recording their fingerprints, retinas or facial patterns for identification.

The porous Afghan-Pakistani border separates families and tribesmen, but also allows Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants to move with ease in their fight against US soldiers in Afghanistan and government forces in Pakistan.

Afghanistan and Pakistan have for months traded accusations of responsibility for deadly cross-border attacks further north than Chaman.

Balochistan also suffers a regional separatist insurgency and sectarian violence involving Sunni and Shiite Muslim extremists.

Opinion

Editorial

Updated 20 May, 2022

TTP peace talks

ANOTHER attempt to sue for peace with the outlawed TTP is being made, again facilitated by the Afghan Taliban that...
20 May, 2022

Beyond the law

THE senior judiciary should take care not to overreach in its zeal to ‘fix’ issues it ideally need not worry...
20 May, 2022

Political musical chairs

YET another political crisis is brewing in Balochistan, where old rivals Jam Kamal Khan Alyani and Sardar Yar...
Updated 19 May, 2022

To be or not to be

The same decision taken weeks or months from now will have far more devastating consequences.
19 May, 2022

Impact on Punjab

THE Supreme Court judgement interpreting the issue of disqualification of parliamentarians under Article 63A of the...
19 May, 2022

Forest fires

THOUGH spot and forest fires have become a perennial phenomenon especially in peak summer, the recent blazes —...