Fencing of the Durand Line

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The Durand treaty was signed in 1893, by the Foreign Secretary of India at the time, Sir Mortimer Durand, and the Amir of Afghanistan, Abdur Rahman Khan. The border is of immense importance to Pakistan, as it passes through Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa regions of the country.

The dispute over the Durand line arose when, after the partition of British India in 1947, both Pakistan and Britain refused the Afghan government’s demand of giving the Pashtuns, who were living in Pakistan, the option of self-determination. The demarcation ran through Pashtun lands and divided its tribal areas, which makes the issue particularly sensitive for Afghanistan. Later, in the 1990s, the Taliban government also refused to accept the, otherwise, internationally recognized boundary line.

Pakistan took the bold stance of fencing the porous border as it was creating instability in Balochistan, as it acted as a gateway for terrorists and espionage activities to enter through Kabul. The Indian Spy Kulbhushan Yadav was also caught infiltrating and running his operations from Durand line. In April 2016, an apex committee was made, which included the then Pakistan’s army chief Raheel Sharif, who ordered for the enforcement of the border crossing mechanism. Pakistan issued a notice ordering all Afghan nationals residing in Torkham to vacate the area for the construction of the wire fence. Afghanistan’s continued objections, but Pakistan was of the stance that fencing of the border was the only immediate solution to keep a check on terrorists.

On 8th of May 2018, Pakistan Army Chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa officially inaugurated the Pak- Afghan Border fencing at Punj Pai in Balochistan. The army chief was accompanied by the Chief Minister of Balochistan, Mir Abdul Quddus Bazenjo, and the Provincial Home Minister Sarfraz Bugti. On this groundbreaking day, Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa interacted with local Sardars and appreciated their dire efforts to complete the incredible task. When addressing the audience, General Qamar Javed Bajwa said that, “special arrangements have been made to facilitate bilateral economic activity and legal movement in any way, or form, through designated crossing points”. He further said that, “Pakistan Army will ensure the defense of the motherland in the discharge of our constitutional duties. It is for everyone to ensure that they abide by law of the land and remain within the bounds of the constitution”.

Since Balochistan is at the core of CPEC, the security of the province is of top priority, and the Pakistan army, and other state organs, are working hard to restore peace in the province. Pakistan Army has planned to seal the border by the end of 2018 to ensure law and orders situation of the country.

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Ahmad Mehmood

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