Pakistan to start fencing off border with Afghanistan
March 26 2017 06:44 PM


Pakistan on Sunday began fencing off its 2430-kilometre border with Afghanistan to restrict the movement of Islamist militants and end allegations of cross-border incursions.
The plan was first announced on Saturday Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
Former president Asif Ali Zardari, who heads the main opposition Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), said that mutual consultation with Afghanistan on border management is critical for addressing issues in militancy and terrorism and for peace in the region.
But "border management with mutual consultation has long been delayed," Zardari said in a statement on Sunday.
Defence analyst and retired general Talat Masood told dpa that the fence was a preventive measure as Afghanistan - particularly the areas bordering Pakistan - "may take much longer to be a peaceful country."
Rather than harming relations, the fence would improve Pakistani-Afghan relations, Masood said, stating that the move will reduce the blame engendered by incursions from both sides and increase genuine trade and commerce between the two countries.
A statement by Pakistan's public relations bureau quoted the army chief as saying that border areas in Pakistan's administrative districts of Bajaur and Mohmand were high threat zones and therefore a first priority. Additional technical surveillance would also be
deployed along the border besides regular air surveillance, he added.
On March 20, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ordered the immediate reopening of the border that was closed after the February 16 suicide attack on a revered Sufi shrine that was allegedly carried out by an Afghan-based militant group.

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