Kabul, June 1 (IANS) Unchecked cross-border movement of people across the Pakistan-Afghanistan international boundary was set to become more stringent with Islamabad applying a rigorous border control regime on Wednesday.
With the expiry of a May 31 deadline, Pakistani authorities asked Afghan nationals not to travel without valid travel documents as Islamabad was yet to consider their request to relax the regulations at Torkham border across Khyber Pass during Ramazan and on Eid days.
The Khyber Rifles personnel, Khassadars and other border officials made the announcement in this regard over loudspeakers near the Torkham border on Tuesday, Geo reported.
They informed the Afghan citizens that they would not be allowed to enter Pakistan without a visa and other valid travel documents. Those who try to enter Pakistan illegally would be detained and prosecuted, the announcement said.
Afghans were not happy with the new restrictions. Border officials said disallowing Afghans to enter Pakistan would create a gulf between the people of the two Muslim neighbours.
Col. Nisar Khan, an Afghan border security force in-charge at Torkham, said Pakistan should relax the border, especially during Ramazan, and for those seeking medical treatment in Peshawar.
He said they would be compelled to shut down Torkham border for all kind of movement if Pakistan did not show flexibility. He said they would not allow trucks to transport Pakistani goods to Central Asian Republics.
Afghan officials at Torkham confirmed that Kabul was in contact with Islamabad to find a solution to the issue.
Sources told Geo News that the Pakistan foreign office had received an official request from Afghanistan to extend its deadline.