At least five people, including a woman, were killed and twenty injured when the Afghan security forces penetrated the porous Pak-Afghan border. In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, security forces started firing indiscriminately at the “lion” tribesmen of the village Qamer Din Karez, in the District Zhob of the south western province of Balochistan.
Daulat Khan Zadran, the police chief of the neighboring Paktika province in Afghanistan, claimed that the Afghan forces were in hot pursuit of Taliban and, in the skirmish that followed, killed them near the border.
While Taj Mohammad, deputy commissioner Zhob counter claimed these people to be innocent unarmed cattle farmers, who had unconsciously crossed the porous border in search of fodder for their cattle.
District Zhob is 280 miles from the capital of Quetta in the province of Balochistan. Qamer Din Karez village in Zhob district is situated near the volatile Pak-Afghan border. These incidents of crossing the border have increased in the last couple of months, which is a cause of major concern for both the countries.
The five people killed in his incident have been identified as Mullah Fateh, Zahir Khan, Muhammad Ameen, Mir Dad, and a woman whose name has not been disclosed, according to the tribal tradition. The bodies of three killed in this incident are still in Afghanistan. One of the deceased is a Levies ( para-military) personnel posted on the border.
According to the eye witnesses, three Afghan security force vehicles crossed the border and without any warning started shooting at the villagers of Qamer Din Karez. They also contend that these villages were not harboring any Taliban and the story, as told by the Afghan side, is nothing but a ruse.
Whatever the actual situation, these unannounced border crossings have increased, causing alarm among the people living along the Pak-Afghan border. The people of Pakistan are asking the government, and rightly so, where were the Pakistani border security forces when this incident took place.
The people are demanding of the Pakistani government to place stringent security measures so that such incidents don’t occur in the future. Some elements in the society are of the opinion that the whole Pak-Afghan border should be sealed by a wired fence.
The Chief Justice Supreme Court of Pakistan, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, who hails from the province of Balochistan, has also directed the government to take concrete steps to improve the law and order in the province.
As this killing of the Pakistanis by the Afghan security forces, by crossing the border, amounts to disrespecting the sovereignty of Pakistan, the civil society activists demand that any such incident be dealt with reciprocal force by the Pakistani security forces, in the future.
In addition, the Afghan charged affairs has been summoned to the foreign office in Islamabad to clarify his government’s stance. Furthermore, a strong protest has been launched by the government concerning this killing of the five Pakistan nationals by the Afghan security forces in District Zhob of Balochistan province.
Written By: Iftikhar Tariq Khanzada