Rumours of open Pak-Afghan border false, says ISPR
ISLAMABAD: Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major Gen Shaukat Sultan on Monday strongly denied reports by Western media sources that the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan is open.
Speaking on PTV programme News Morning, he said anyone who believes they can cross the border without under-going checks should visit the border areas and see reality. He said suggestions offered by the media of an open border between Pakistan and Afghanistan are false. Pakistani security forces do not allow anyone to cross the border without necessary documents and permission by the government, he added. He said Pakistan has introduced a red card system for those who daily enter Pakistan for business and other purposes.
Mr Sultan said the situation on the ground is totally different from what is being portrayed by the media.
To show the truth, the government of Pakistan has invited the foreign media to visit the border areas and see the measures themselves. Currently, only those with legal documents can cross the border into Pakistan, he said. He added that rumors of large groups crossing the border without having proper documents are completely false.
Rarely, he said, people without necessary documents cross the border. But, he said, this is because it takes some time to work out kinks in the checking process at the border. Mr Sultan said 95 percent of the Pak-Afghan border is under surveillance.
Pakistan has between 3 and 4 million Afghan refugees, he said. After September 11, the government decided to keep a record of all Afghan refugees. Only genuine refugees are allowed to stay in Pakistan, while people without proper documentation are being returned to Afghanistan, he said.
He also dispelled the impression that Madaris are being used by terrorist groups. He said foreign media teams could also visit the Madaris near the border and see that the children receiving a religious education are not linked to terrorist groups.
Pakistan has played a key role in the fight against terrorism in its own national interest, he said. He added Pakistan is serious about participating in the global war against terrorism.
Pakistani authorities are erecting a wire fence along the Pak-Afghan border to control illegal movement, he said, adding the fence will only be erected at those places where people can easily cross the border. Mr Sultan said Pakistani check posts can be seen at approximately one kilometer intervals along the border.
Pakistani forces have entered the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) for the first time in Pakistan’s history, he said, adding the people of FATA have welcomed the Pakistani Army.
He said the Army has initiated many development projects in the area and work on them is going on. The people of the area are also being given free medical care, he added.
Inspector General Frontier Corps NWFP Major General Muhammad Hamid Khan, Inspector General Frontier Corps Balochistan Major General Sadaqat Ali Shah and FATA Secretary Brigadier (r) Mehmud Shah also participated in the programme. —APP