Tensions Flare as Pakistan Protests Turn Violent near Afghan Border Tension runs high after protesters clash with … – Agencia EFE

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Islamabad, June 7 (EFE).- Tensions ran high on Friday following violent clashes between security forces and protesters who were staging a sit-in at a border-crossing point to Afghanistan in Pakistan’s troubled Balochistan province, an official said.

At least 56 demonstrators and 12 security officials were wounded in the clashes on Thursday as hundreds of protesters continued their sit-in for nearly nine months near the Chaman border crossing.

They are protesting against the government’s new visa policy for small businessmen engaged in informal cross-border trade.

In October of last year, the federal government decided to make passports and visas mandatory for crossing the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The step was aimed to curb illegal border crossings and trade.

The protesters had blocked the Quetta-Chaman National Highway, a crucial route connecting Pakistan with Afghanistan.

This blockade resulted in the closure of traffic and halted Afghan transit trade, imports, and exports for the past month.

On Wednesday, the security forces cracked down on the protesters to open the highway and removed the camps erected by them.

In response to the eviction, the protesters ransacked the Deputy Commissioner’s office on Thursday.

They again blocked the highway, halting all trade and travel between the two countries. The situation turned violent when seven main organizers of the sit-in were arrested.

“Yesterday, 56 protesters were wounded in teargas shelling by security forces while over 12 security officials were wounded in stone pelting by the protesters,” a local administrator in Chaman told EFE on Friday on condition of anonymity.

However, the situation was under control now but the markets and shops were only partially open in the Chaman town, added the official.

Olus Yar Khan, a spokesperson for the organizers of the sit-in, claimed that the security forces opened fire on the protesters.

At least 40 protesters were injured due to “firing by” paramilitary Frontier Constabulary, the spokesperson wrote on X.

Baloch Yakjehti Committee (BYC), a movement established for the rights of the ethnic Baloch community in the volatile southwestern province, condemned the use of force against the protesters.

Chaman is the second busiest border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan. EFE


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