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Pakistanis working in Afghanistan being bothered by agencies

National

May 13, 2011

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Islamabad
While our intelligence agencies had no clue of Osama in Abbottabad, they have been harassing Pakistanis, especially doing white-collar jobs in Afghanistan, and asking them irritating questions at Torkham border, suspecting their patriotism and making ridiculous demands.
The expatriate Pakistanis felt so sick of such interrogations that they sought help of the country’s ambassador in Kabul, Muhammad Sadiq, whose efforts brought them a short relief as the process of irritating questioning has resumed with one-month break only. They have also expressed fear of being picked up by agencies as a price of highlighting these ordeals.
The ambassador confirmed to The News receiving such complaints and said whoever is involved in trouble-making is not doing the right thing. He acknowledged the matter was brought to his notice some six months back and that he wrote to the concerned authorities. However, the affected expatriates said they see no let-up in the trouble they face at Torkham border and they are forced to opt illegal ways of crossing into Afghanistan instead of opting legal path notwithstanding the fact they have authentic documents.
The News has read the complaints sent to the ambassador and they are quite revealing. “On the Pakistan side of Torkham border, some people (they call themselves as intelligence inspectors) ask some irritating and teasing questions from almost every Pakistani having legal travel documents, which has created a disturbing environment among the white-collar Pakistanis working in Afghanistan,” said one letter to the ambassador.
Narrating the fact that how one Pakistani was treated at the border, the letter states: “His laptop was forcefully searched, which is totally an unacceptable behaviour. Below is a list of some of the questions these people normally ask from Pakistanis: 1) Have been working with Indians in Afghanistan?; 2) What the Indians are doing in Afghanistan?; 3) Do you know how many Indians are

working in Afghanistan?; 4) What is in your laptop? Does it have anti-Pakistan data?; 5) Have you worked with USAID? If yes, what were you doing? Did you see Indians in USAID or USAID contractors etc.?; 6) Have you worked with government of Afghanistan? How many Indians are working in government entities of Afghanistan? Sometimes, they search laptops of Pakistanis and sometimes they take some Pakistanis to a separate room and ask these irritating questions.”
The letter goes on: “The most important aspect of this process is that the Pakistanis who want to cross the border legally are asked these questions, while at the same time thousands of Pakistanis and Afghanis cross the same border illegally, who are not asked even a single question.”

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