Closing the border

Mar 15, 2017
WITH thousands of people stranded on both sides and traders unable to move their goods across, the sealing of the border with Afghanistan has created a serious humanitarian crisis. One fails to understand the rationale behind this action that is hurting Afghans as well as Pakistanis. This ‘cutting off the nose to spite the face’ approach is certainly not going to get us anywhere. The entire episode reflects our inability to respond more responsibly in times of crisis.
It is a month now since Pakistani security forces closed the border crossings following the recent wave of terrorist attacks carried out by militants operating from sanctuaries inside Afghanistan. Pakistan has demanded that the Kabul government take action against those groups. The border closure is apparently being used as a pressure tactic.
But this knee-jerk action is counterproductive, and has only complicated the problem further. Not only has the border closing exacerbated the plight of people living on both sides, it will also cost Pakistan’s economy dearly both in the short and long term. The two crossings — Torkham and Chaman — are the major channels of trade and commerce between the two countries.
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Dawn, March 15, 2017

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