Rallies Demand Release Of Pakistani Porters In Afghanistan

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Ashrafuddin Pirzada
TORKHAM: Residents, porters and social workers on Friday staged a protest in Landikotal and Torkham bazaars to record their protest against the Pakistani labourers who have been stopped by Emarat-e-Islami at Torkham border to enter Pakistan.

The first protest rally led by Kalimullah Shinwari and others marched in the Landikotal bazaar and ended outside the Landikotal press club. They were holding black flags and banners with slogans they wanted the free movement of porters via the Torkham border.
The rally later marched to the Torkham border where they gathered at Nadra Chowk in Torkham border town.
A number of political leaders, workers and local leaders also participated in the protests. The protesters had blocked the road in Torkham causing the suspension of Afghan repatriation for an hour.

Speakers including Tehsil chairman Shah Khalid Shinwari, traders union president Jafar Khan Shinwari, Kalimullah Shinwari, Qari Nazim Gul, Murad Hussain Afridi, and others said that more than five hundred Pakistanis and Afghan citizens were doing the job as porter at Torkham border.
They said a day before around 200 Pakistani labourers who had entered Afghanistan with proper passports and visas were denied entry back to Pakistan. They also accused Afghan authorities have taking away passports from the Pakistani porters and keeping them in their illegal custody.

Siyasi Etihad Landikotal president Murad Hussain Afridi said that Afghanistan without any reason not allow Pakistani poor labourers and kept them in custody for three days. He also said Pakistan must respect Afghan citizens residing in Pakistan legally. He said authorities should hold flag meetings with Afghan authorities and take up the labourer’s issue with them.

The protesters demanded that the Pakistani government intervene in the situation and ask the Afghan officials to return passports to the Pakistani citizens.

Landikotal Council chairman Shah Khalid said that the Afghan government must let the Pakistanis return to their country.
A social worker Akhtar Ali Shinwari told Fata Voice that around 200 Pakistani labourers had been kept in custody by Afghan authorities at the Afghan side of the Torkham border. He said they had halted all the trucks and coaches crying Afghan nationals back to their country. He said they did not want to hurt the Afghan citizens as they were their brothers and sisters but were compelled to suspend the repatriation to record their protest.