No real deal ....

Pakistan Observer - - PAGE -

and strength­en­ing re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries.

Afghanistan and Pak­istan last week traded deadly heavy gun­fire and ar­tillery at the Torkham bor­der cross­ing af­ter Pak­istan started build­ing a gate on its side to check for un­wanted and il­le­gal move­ment of Afghans. A state­ment from the Afghan for­eign min­istry said the talks were held in an “am­i­ca­ble and friendly at­mos­phere” but said Karzai had raised what it called “var­i­ous vi­o­la­tions” by Pak­istan, in­clud­ing set­ting up check­points in Afghan ter­ri­tory.

He said that both coun­tries should reach a con­sen­sus over bor­der mech­a­nisms. He said that Afghanistan should also be con­sulted be­fore for­mu­lat­ing any such mech­a­nisms.

Pak­istan’s For­eign Sec­re­tary Aizaz Chaudhry told Afghan del­e­ga­tion that man­age­ment of the Pak­istan-Afghanistan bor­der was nec­es­sary and it would bring ben­e­fit to both coun­tries.

Aizaz Chaudhry also said that bor­der gates should not be es­tab­lished only at the Torkham bor­der but at other cross­ing points as well. He said that a proper bor­der man­age­ment mech­a­nism will also aid in curb­ing smug­gling across the bor­der.

“There was no fi­nal agree­ment but we have in­formed them (Afghanistan) of our po­si­tion,” the of­fi­cial said.

“These gates are im­por­tant for the safety and se­cu­rity of both Pak­istan and Afghanistan.”

Afghan Deputy Min­is­ter Hek­mat Khalil Karzai also paid a cour­tesy call on Sartaj Aziz.

Pak­istan has started in­tro­duc­ing a new bor­der mech­a­nism at the Torkham bor­der from June 1. Un­der the new bor­der con­trols, Pak­istan has made it clear that no one would be al­lowed to cross the bor­der with­out a valid pass­port and a visa.

Of­fi­cial sources say Pak­istan will stick to its po­si­tion with re­gard to the new bor­der rules.

Ear­lier this month, the Torkham bor­der was closed due to the clash which claimed four lives on both sides had started be­cause of a dis­pute over the con­struc­tion of the bor­der gate.

It also left tens of thou­sands of pas­sen­gers stranded on both sides of the bor­der in ad­di­tion to hun­dreds of trucks car­ry­ing cargo that were also held up.

Torkham is one of the busiest of the eight es­tab­lished cross­ing points on the 2,500kilo­me­tre-long por­ous bor­der be­tween the two coun­tries, which is used by some 25,000 trav­el­ers ev­ery day.

A diplo­matic push to end the Pak-Afghan row over the con­struc­tion of the bor­der gate bore fruit on Satur­day when Pak­istan re­opened the Torkham bor­der cross­ing for traf­fic a week af­ter skir­mishes forced the clo­sure.

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