Sources in security establishment have told Business Recorder that closure of Pak-Afghan was the consensus decision of security experts who were consulted before the decision to close the border was taken.
Security experts suggested that the closure of the border 0should continue till the Afghan government realises that it has to take action against militants taking shelter on its soil. However they advised that stranded passengers from both sides of the border must be facilitated through opening the border crossing for a short durations.
“This is basically a defensive policy to exert pressure on the Afghan government and compel it to commit to a viable solution to the problem,” an official source said. Pakistan’s border crossings with Afghanistan were closed on February 16 after 88 people were killed in a suicide bomb attack at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sindh.
Brigadier Mehmood Shah (Retd), a senior security and defence analyst, told Business Recorder that Afghan government does not take Pakistan’s complaints to seriously and this in spite of the fact that terrorists taking refuge in Afghanistan are carrying out attacks inside Pakistan.
“They [Afghan authorities] are neither ready to listen to us when we tell them about terrorists taking shelter on Afghan soil not are they ready to take responsibility of border security,” he said. He further said that closure of the border is one of the options through which we can exert pressure on Afghanistan to come up with some solution to the problem.
Brigadier Mehmood Shah (Retd) acknowledged that the closure of the border negatively affects the country’s economy but “we can not compromise security,” he added.
To the possibility of terrorists entering the country from a non-designated border crossing he pointed out that the terrorists of Army Public School and Bacha Khan University entered Pakistan through Torkham Border under the guise of regular travellers.
Lieutenant General Talat Masood (Retd), a senior defence analyst, said that the Pak-Afghan border should have been shut for a short period of time while the two governments had sat down together to find out a long-lasting solution to the problem.
“Just closing down the border will not serve any propose; rather it will further complicate the already tense relations between the two neighbours”, he said, adding terrorists do not enter usually Pakistan through normal routes, so there is 0a need to chalk out a joint strategy to control their movement.
Lieutenant General Talat Masood (Retd) said that both sides should remain vigilant in order to secure their respective areas, adding the problem of Afghanistan is that they do not have much control over large parts of their country but at least they need to make the effort to secure 20 major points.
According Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI) Pakistan- Afghanistan trade declined by about 40 percent because of rising bilateral tensions. -Business Recorder