Despite Afghanistan’s strong reservations, Pakistan has started the fencing work along the whole Pakistan-Afghanistan border or Durand Line. According to Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, DG, Inter-Service Public Relations and Pak army spokesperson, the work is part of Operation Radd ul Fasaad, Pak army’s countrywide anti-terror operation and has been ordered by Pak army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bahwa.
The whole work will be completed in two phases with high infiltration areas like Bajaur, Mohmand and Khyber Agencies are being taken in the first phase. According to his Facebook post, besides building up the fence, the Pak army is also new posts and forts to further beef up the security measures.
Nothing looks wrong with it. It is, in fact, within a sovereign country’s rights to do all to secure its borders. But it is not so. The border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, known as Durand Line, is disputed and Afghanistan has vowed to never recognize it. Durand Line, drawn by Britain in 1893, is 2460 Kms long and arbitrarily divides the geographical areas inhabited by Pashtun and Baloch communities. Afghanistan contends that the validity of the British era document that imposed the Durand Line on Afghanistan expired with the collapse of the British empire from the sub-continent in 1947.
Earlier this year, when Pakistan had closed its border with Afghanistan citing terrorists’ infiltration, Afghanistan’s former president Hamid Karzai had hit back using strong words, “the Government of Pakistan had no legal authority to dictate terms on the Durand line.” He added that “while we wish freedom for the people of FATA from FCR and other repressive measures, we remind the Government of Pakistan that Afghanistan hasn’t and will not recognize the Durand Line.” Federally Administered Tribal Areas or FATA is Pakistan’s north-western province that borders with Afghanistan. FATA was seen as a region beyond Pakistan’s control which regulates it now through repressive special laws known as the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) and has announced to merge it with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.