Chaman border could be closed for some time over security threats, says Sheikh Rashid

All US soldiers who arrived in Pakistan from Kabul have left: Minister

Statesman Report

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Thursday said the authorities may close the Chaman border crossing “for some time today” in view of threats.

Addressing a gathering in Islamabad Thursday, the minister said he had spoken to the Frontier Constabulary, following which the border management could decide to close the border.

The minister’s remarks come a few days after Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa reaffirmed that Pakistan’s borders were secure despite the challenges the country faces and that the armed forces were "prepared to meet any situation”.

While Rashid, in his statement Thursday, indicated of a security threat at the Chaman border, he insisted that the situation at the Torkham border was "normal”.

The minister said the Pakistan Army was deployed at the border and that the forces were keeping a check on movement along the divide.

He was of the view that crisis and bloodshed in Afghanistan was under control, adding that “we want complete peace there.”

The minister said he had asked the Islamabad police chief to beef up its Eagle Squad.

“This region is going to be very important,” Rashid said. "Islamabad is our capital and the whole world have their eyes on it.”

He also highlighted the government’s plan to revamp police stations at the outskirts of Islamabad.

‘Govt ready for

national reconciliation’

Responding to a question, the interior minister said the clamour for a national government was a "dream”. He did, however, say that the government was ready for a "national reconciliation”.

He commented on the opposition’s planned long march towards the capital, saying the "time is not feasible” for such an activity due to the evolving regional situation. “But if they are persistent with their plan, then the law enforcement [agencies] will perform their duties under the law to deal [with any law and order situation].”

The minister denied the presence of any American nationals in Pakistan, saying “those who had arrived [from Afghanistan] have returned via the port. We allowed 600 Japanese yesterday and also permitted the U-19 team of India, and if anyone else asks so, we will grant them a 21-day transit visa.”

In response to another question, Rashid said Indian media wanted to lay the blame of the situation in Afghanistan on the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence), adding that the Indian intelligence agency Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) and Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS) were in a state of despair after all their plans "foiled”.

He further said that "all Pakistanis are proud of their national institutions in view of their services for the country.”