Deployment of FIA staff on Ghulam Khan border on the card: Army official

MIRAN SHAH: A delegation of journalists in North Waziristan on Thursday visited Ghulam Khan crossing point on Pak-Afghan border.

The Pak army arranged the visit where Wing Commandant Col  Shehzad of Tochi Scouts and National Logistics Cell Col Aziz Khattak took them to the border and fencing site and briefed them about security measures taken by Pak army for securing the Pak-Afghan border and trade activities via Ghulam Khan gate.

Col Shehzad informed the delegation that half of the border was fenced with Afghanistan while the remaining will be fended by end of 2019.

He said that fencing of the border meant to check illegal travel and control terrorists’ cross-border movement.This is friendly fencing which does not mean to stop movements of people and tribes living across the border. For this purpose we have installed gates to facilitate movements by  people of Gurbaz tribe and others who are divided by the border and have marriages and family relations across the Pak-Afghan border.

Col Aziz said that the trade activities between Pakistan and Afghanistan resumed on Ghulam Khan border in March 2018 with only four trucks crossing the border at the time. However the trade has seen an increase over the time and now a days around 70 trucks daily transports goods to both country via the terminal, he revealed.

More than half of the vehicles carrying Pakistani products such as steel, cement and other items cross into Afghanistan on daily basis, he said and added around 30 trucks supply imported goods from Afghanistan to Pakistan via Ghulam Khan crossing point.  “Ghulam Khan is the third largest terminal on Pak-Afghan border that has seen a rise in trading activities recently and its is expected to get double very soon” he said adding majority of transporters and laborers involved in the trade activities are local from North Waziristan.

As the security situation improves across the border, trade via Ghulam Khan will see a boost that would lead to further creation of jobs for locals, he hoped.

“We have installed scanners at the terminal but they are not not operative as recently the jurisdiction of Federal Investigation Agency was not extended to tribal districts. Soon the staff of FIA, NADRA and Anti Narcotics Force will be deployed in Ghulam Khan terminal as FATA has been merged in KP” he said.

This is the first time in years that army took local journalists to the border and briefed them on the current situation.

Typically non local journalists including foreign media correspondents were invited to visit the crossing point and other cleared areas in North Waziristan which often pissed off local reporters.