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- Wednesday, May 25, 2011 - From Print Edition


ISLAMABAD: Whereas the presence of a large number of foreigners, particularly Afghans, in different cities of Azad Kashmir is a question mark on the performance of the security agencies, these aliens can pose a serious security risk in the days to come, it was learnt here on Tuesday.


“In their reports, the intelligence agencies have reminded the authorities in Azad Kashmir several times to be careful about the security matters, the rulers of Azad Kashmir are doing nothing except improving their political standing and taking steps for ensuring their victory in the next elections,” an official source told The News.


The source said that the security matters in major cities of AJK, including Muzaffarabad, Rawalakot, Bagh and Mirpur are currently worse and the security and law enforcement agencies of the state are silent about the possibility of the future scenario because of the concentration of a large number of foreigners, including Afghans, in Azad Kashmir in connection with the religious education.


During a detailed visit to different cities including Bagh last week, it was noted during the visit that a large number of big and expensive vehicles stolen from Pakistan are currently being used in different cities of Azad Kashmir. It was learnt that big car dealers having contacts in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi are involved in this business.


It was learnt that the easiest route for vehicle thieves and other criminals from Islamabad is through Lehtrar, Kotli Sattian, Azad Pattan; Abbottabad to Kohala while entry through the GT Road is also very easy.


“Currently, the biggest security risk is unchecked growth of religious schools in Azad Kashmir and the foreign funding for these institutions,” an administration official told The News in Muzaffarabad. “Although various army camps exist in Azad Kashmir, the growing number of religious schools and presence of a large number of foreigners studying in these institutions is a constant threat to the peaceful population of the state,” he said.


This correspondent noted in interaction with people in different cities that local people consider a huge concentration of Afghans a matter of grave concern and the biggest security risk and people are now publicly expressing concern in this regard.


Former AJK prime minister Barrister Sultan Mahmood Chaudhry said that utmost care should be exercised with regard to the presence of foreigners in Azad Kashmir.