1. Chaman is the most imp border town along Durand Line in BAL. Social setup here is tribal. The DL has divided villages, tribes and relatives.
There are houses with one gate in Pak’s territory & another gate falling Afghan territory.
Across #Chaman is the Waish Mandi, where Transit trade goods are offloaded. What we know as smuggling is trade for local people.
Over 30,000 ppl crossed border on daily basis. These included: Pak daily wagers & traders working in Waish; Afghan men, women & children coming to Quetta for medical checkup; lagharhis;
While other COVID-related restrictions were lifted, the border remained closed.
1000s of people were stranded on both sides. It also meant loss of livelihoods for lagharhis & small traders-who started a sit-in last month.
Today, the border was closed again, which brought the protesters in confrontation with FC. 3 ppl have reportedly died & 20 injured so far.
GOP wants to introduce visa regime, which is unacceptable to ppl of Chaman. Visas will not only disconnect relatives 4m each other but also result in loss of livelihoods for 50,000 families. These ppl don’t have alternative means of livelihood
Requirement of visa is unacceptable for local ppl who have relatives & businesses across border.
Besides, visas will seriously disrupt businesses. GoP has no plan for compensating for these losses
It is time Pak strives for regional integration through trade. Peaceful & integrated borders will only make Pak more strong.
Requirement of visa can’t be implemented overnight.
If the Govt is bent on introducing visas, it should first take steps for provision of alternative livelihood opportunities