Pakistan political parties concerned over relaxed visa policy for Afghans

Opposition parties in Pakistan have expressed concerns over what they call the government’s “liberal” visa policy adopted for foreigners staying in Afghanistan and Afghan nationals after the Taliban took power, fearing terrorists might enter in the guise of transit passengers

Aug 29, 2021
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Pakistan-Afghans

Opposition parties in Pakistan have expressed concerns over what they call the government’s “liberal” visa policy adopted for foreigners staying in Afghanistan and Afghan nationals after the Taliban took power, fearing terrorists might enter in the guise of transit passengers. 

Pakistan has so far evacuated more than 4,400 people from Afghanistan and as many as 27,000 people had entered the country from Chaman and Torkham, the two important border crossings with Afghanistan, Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry said this week. 

However, opposition leaders criticized the government for failing to consult or inform Parliament. 

“It is a matter of concern that the government till date has not taken the people or the parliament into confidence on the rapidly developing Afghan situation,” Reza Rabbani, a senator from an opposition party, PPP, was quoted as saying by Dawn. The government, he added, has not even briefed political parties on the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan.

Soon after the suicide bombing at Kabul airport, several western countries had reportedly approached Pakistan, seeking its help in the evacuation of their nations and diplomats from Afghanistan. Thereafter, authorities in Pakistan had reportedly taken over control of all hotels in Islamabad for at least three weeks. 

Questioning the government policy, Rabbani asked, “What necessitated Pakistan being made a staging station for the exodus from Afghanistan?” He further asked the government to release the measures taken to stop the terrorists belonging to the TTP, and IS-K, from entering the country.  

Pakistani military this week briefed the senior members of the parliamentary committee about the army’s preparation to deal with the crisis, including the emerging refugee crisis. Rabbani though called the briefing “insufficient” as only a handful of members were there. 

Recently, the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR has estimated around half a million Afghans may seek refuge in neighboring countries. Over 3.5 million have been internally displaced due to fighting over the past years. 

(SAM)

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