Quetta, Oct 10: Pakistan is planning to build a ‘Berlin-style wall’ at the frontiers with Afghanistan, to crackdown on infiltration in the loosely demarcated region.
The fence, to which Kabul has raised apprehensions, will run down the 2,500-km border between the two nations. Some of the villages at the Pak-Afghan border would be divided into two halves due to the boundary wall.
At least seven villages, in the vicinity of strategic border town Chaman, would be adversely impacted as the cross-border trade and people-to-people exchanges would come to a halt.
The region to be affected by the Berlin Wall-style divide stretches from the province of Balochistan to the restive parts of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The populace in the region largely comprises of the Pashtun tribals, who hold the allegiance to their tribe above their affiliation to either Pakistan or Afghanistan.
Justifying the government’s decision to construct wall-style fence, Col Muhammad Usman, commander of Pakistan’s Frontier Corps paramilitary force in Chaman, said, “(A border wall) was there in Germany, it is in Mexico. It is all over the world – why not in Afghanistan and Pakistan?”
“These tribals have to understand that this is Pakistan and that place is Afghanistan,” he was reported as saying by Reuters.
Despite the apprehensions raised by Kabul and a section of the tribal population at the borders, some of the villagers have welcomed the construction of wall, saying it would put an “end to the bloodshed”.
In Killi Jahangir and Killi Luqman, located in FATA region, the residents are hopeful that the rigorous fencing would put an end to the clashes between the sides, as seen during the census survey in May this year. The Pakistani officials were reportedly attacked for carrying out their research in the border villages by the Afghan soldiers. A total of ten people died in the incident.
“There will no infiltration of terrorists or suspects from Afghan areas…but my own small business, which I was doing with Afghan people, will be affected,” said Abdul Jabbar of Killi Jahangir while speaking to Reuters.
Walls to check infiltration – A populist trend
Nearly three decades after the Berlin Wall was pulled down in 1989, the option of rigorous fencing to check infiltration has turned into a populist trend. US President Donald Trump had promised the construction of wall at Mexico border as a major poll plank to check the entry of illegal Hispanic population.
Hungary’s far-right Prime Minister Viktor Orban resorted to “rigorous fencing of borders” with Serbia to prevent the entry of Syrian refugees and other Muslim immigrants through the route. The move, Europe’s anti-Islam outfit PEGIDA claims, checked immigration to other parts of the continent as well as Hungary’s geographical location makes it the gateway of European Union.