Pashtuns hold massive protest against passport checking at Pak-Afghan border in Chaman

Pashtuns protesting passport checking at Pak-Afghan border
Pashtuns protesting passport checking at Pak-Afghan border (Photo: News Intervention)

The Pashtuns and Pakistan have come face to face on many issues since past few months. Be it the Afghan refugee issue or Pakistan’s ignorance towards the region. In all these conflicts, PTM has emerged as a forerunner of the Pashtun cause. In fact, it would not be wrong to say that it is single handedly resisting the arbitrary and oppressive actions of Pakistan. To that extent, a new protest has been organized by the Pashtuns against the passport checking at Pak-Afghan border.

The protest against the mandatory passport checking at Pak-Afghan border was started on 21 October in Chaman district of Pak-occupied Balochistan, which is the major route for the trans Durand trader movement. As of now the protest has entered its 7th day. On the 6th day of protest, i.e. October 26, the protest was made fiercer by organizing a rally which saw participation from the entire Pashtun and Afghan community. Lakhs of people hit the streets of mall road in Chaman as a symbol of protest against the Pakistani establishment of passport checking at Pak Afghan border for cross border movement for trade. They raised the slogans of “passport namanzur, namanzur” (Passport unacceptable, unacceptable).

Passport checking at Pak-Afghan border under ‘One document regime’

It is worth mentioning that after the Taliban take over of Afghanistan and especially after the Chitral clashes between TTP and Pakistan Army, the relation between the terror regimes of Pakistan and Taliban have seen a new low. Unanticipatedly, Pakistan got the taste of its own medicine from the Taliban. As a result, Pakistan launched a crackdown on unregistered Afghan civilians since a couple of months ago. In line with that the Paki establishment has recently declared that its “one document regime” policy will replace the decades-old practice of granting special travel permits to individuals with divided tribes straddling the nearly 2,600-kilometer Durand line between the two countries.

According to an official federal directive sent to immigration authorities at all Afghan border crossings, “passport as the only traveling document is going to be implemented from November 1, 2023.”

Accordingly, the passport and visa requirement are primarily going to hit the Pashtun dominated regions where the Pashtun population is spread on either side of the border.  Thousands of families from Afghanistan side travel to Pakistan to meet their family and relatives or in search of work and return to their homes slip of paper, locally called tazkira. Tazkira is granted under the easement rights that guarantee free travel. Almost every Pashtun use Chaman border to travel to Pakistan.

And so, the issue is crucial for Pashtuns and the abrupt decision of Pakistan has left the community in disarray. Consequently, the Pashtuns are protesting with full vigour.

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