South Asia

People report ‘mistreatment’ by Pakistani forces at Torkham crossing

Afghanistan’s citizens who travel to Pakistan for treatment purposes say they are faced with mistreatment by Pakistani forces at the Torkham crossing, the main route for traveling to the neighboring country.

Some patients said they have complete documents for traveling to Pakistan through Torkham, but they wait for days and ultimately are not allowed to enter Pakistan.

The Afghanistan side of the crossing is filled with hundreds of people, sometimes even thousands, who are waiting to travel to Pakistan, mostly for treatment purposes.

The Torkham crossing. Sept. 15, 2022.

Gul Mohammad, a resident of Kabul, said on Sunday that he wants to travel to Pakistan with a family member for treatment purposes, but they are yet to be allowed to enter the border.

With his patient’s documents in hand, Gul Mohammad wants to go to Pakistan for treatment.

“Torkham’s problem is big. There is ongoing mistreatment. The Taliban only watches the mistreatment and is doing nothing,” he said. “Moreover, the distribution of passports is not done on time.”

Health officials at a health center in the Torkham crossing in Nangarhar said the problems are due to the influx of those who want to go to Pakistan for treatment.

Abdul Hadi, a doctor at the health center, said that dozens and sometimes hundreds of people are traveling to the neighboring country for treatment and this crowd has added to the problems.

“We have to check the documents and then let people in,” he said. “Most of the people who don’t have documents are not allowed, but the Pakistani police are still oppressing.”

Khalid, a member of the Taliban commissary in Torkham, said that Pakistan has promised to address the issue, but none of these promises have been fulfilled.

People waiting to cross the Torkham crossing to Pakistan.

He added that efforts have been made to find solutions to the problems of patients from Afghanistan.

“They have shared all the problems of the people with the Pakistani authorities and they promised to cooperate,” Khalid said.

Afghanistan’s citizens said that they also face problems in getting Pakistan visas.

From hundreds of applicants a day that apply for Pakistani visas online, few of them succeed to get a visa after at least two months of waiting, visa applicants said.

Institutions that process online visa applications admitted the problem and said that they apply for the visa and pay the charges online. Still, sometimes only five people succeed in getting visas.