Entry to Pakistan for Afghans becoming lucrative source of income

Shamim Shahid

Believe it that getting Pakistani visa for the Afghan nationals both in or outside Afghanistan becoming too much hard and expensive whereas continuous silence on the part of Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilalwal Bhutto Zardari and Emirate Islami Afghanistan leadership generating stock of questions. It seems that under well planned strategies, now the US lead allies especially spy agencies of Pakistan are bent upon economic assassination of already war devastated Afghans.

These US lead allies are also making attempts to force the Afghans to abandon their motherland as this mountainous region connecting South with Central Asia still maintaining its strategic and economic importance’s, which would play a key role in next phases of global wars for power, perks and resources.

At the moment, issuance of visa’s to the Afghan nationals even those who are in possession of US, UK, EU and other foreign countries passports is considered most lucrative source of income not only for Pakistan’s diplomatic squads throughout the world but also for some of spy agencies and NADRA, personnel dealing heals and deals regarding war devastated Afghanistan. Couple of days back, a family belongs to eastern Afghanistan reached in Peshawar from Afghanistan. Five members of the family had got On Line visa at cost of Eight US dollars each but the score was settled with three others by issuance Pakistan single entrance visa for one month after getting 3600 US dollars ( each 1200 US dollars.)

This issue is not confined to a single family or an individual but it is a common feature for almost Afghans who wants to visit either for a single day or trip or for a prolong stay. On Wednesday evening, a female with four children was forced to pay 40,000 Afghanis just for entering Pakistan at Torkham. Ironically, all those Afghans who wants to go back to their motherland from Pakistan are not only bound to surrender Proof Of Registration (POR cards issued to them by NADRA and UNHCR couple of years back) but they are being forced to pay bribe from RS 5000 to RS 10000 at all crossing points especially at Torkham.

Though Pakistan has made hard the policies for issuance of visa’s to Afghan nationals soon after starting fencing of Pak Afghan border, also called Durand Line somewhere in end of 2015 last with financial support of US but soon after empowering of Taliban on August 15th 2021 it was further tightened. All those Afghans who intends to visit Pakistan either from Afghanistan or from rest of the world are bound to attach an invitation from a Pakistani national through a Stamp Paper. Each member of the family is bound to attach separate Stamp Paper with visa application. Filling and stamping this stamp paper costing from RS 1000 to RS 1500. But it doesn’t mean approval as the approval authorities are certain mysterious high ups in Foreign Office, Intelligence agencies, responsible for Afghanistan and NADRA offices. However, the procedure become a major source for minting money or getting bribes for the personnel of all these departments and institutions.

Unfortunately, in reaction some of the diplomatic personnel of Afghanistan in its missions are also demanding bribes from Pakistani nationals even students frequently visiting Afghanistan. Apparently, Taliban are portraying themselves “unhappy” from Pakistan but internally all of Emirate Islami leaders including acting Prime Minister and Foreign Ministers are playing silent role over maltreatment of the countrymen for Visa’s and visits to Pakistan. The Afghans not only from inside Afghanistan but also scattered throughout the world, through social media are not only denouncing step mother attitude on the part of Pakistan but even they making appeals to higher authorities like Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Chief Of Army Staff Gen. Asim Muneer to take its early notices as Afghans are considering Pakistan as their second motherland. Likewise, these policies and restrictions also affecting relations between thousands of families.

In the light of heavy prices of visa’s and unprecedented bribe demands of personnel at Torkham, Foreign and NADRA offices at Islamabad, visits or travelling from Afghanistan to Pakistan is on decline from last several months. Declining travelling and visits also posing bad impacts on bilateral trade between the two neighbouring countries. Now it is the time for both Islamabad and Kabul to set across a table, for settling all such issues and hardships.