Restrictions on Afghan border and journalism?
Pakistan has more than 2600 km long border with Afghanistan and 1468 km of it with Balochistan province of Pakistan.
Along this long border with Balochistan province, four provinces of Afghanistan are located, including Helmand, Kandahar, Nimroz and Zabul. From where various border trades are carried out through specific routes. These four provinces have been the center of war between the Afghan Taliban and the Afghan National Army until two years ago
Historically, both sides of the Durand Line border between Pakistan and Afghanistan have enjoyed free trade, kinship and mutual relations for centuries. Bab Dosti is considered to be an important trade route on the Chaman border. It is also known as the gateway to Central Asia.
The recent political change in Afghanistan has also affected the lives of journalists in Balochistan’s Chaman district. Accessing the border for border-related news coverage is no less difficult. Since the Afghan Taliban came to power, the border has seen frequent tensions. In such a situation, journalists are not allowed to report the issues related to Chaman border.
Matiullah Achakzai has been reporting information from Balochistan’s border town of Chaman for the national and international media for the past several years. They also often face difficulties in border coverage.
Matiullah says that Chaman border is more sensitive than other borders of the province, that’s why most journalists are not given easy access to the border, so that the news related to the border is not published or broadcast in the national media, nor from the border business. Affiliate merchant issues may be reported.
Mutiullah further explains that before the new government in Afghanistan, journalists used to report easily on trade and traffic issues from both sides of the border, but now the situation is reversed as it is now impossible for journalists to access the Chaman border. has been made
There have been several incidents of firing between the Afghan Taliban and Pakistani security forces on Chaman and Torkham border. Pakistan has been making allegations that Afghan territory is being used against them, but Afghan officials seem to deny such allegations. Tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan have also created difficulties for journalists working near the border.
Matiullah suggested that the government should issue special passes for journalists so that information related to the border can be accessed and journalists can carry out their duties easily.
Muhammad Saeed Baloch, a journalist from Nushki district near the Afghanistan border, says that the Afghanistan-Pakistan Ghazni border, which is 25 km away from Nushki, was established in 2005, from which various types of commercial traffic continues, but Ghazni border. However, journalists do not have easy access, only on specific events, journalists are invited to visit.
Due to the lack of mobile network in the border areas, journalists often face difficulties, due to which they often cannot deliver the news to the journalistic institutions in a timely manner, due to which the news often loses its importance.
Another journalist from Nushki, on the condition of anonymity, said that the border adjacent to Nushki is used for illegal trade and traffic, which makes it difficult for most journalists to access the border and from the border. There are death threats for running related news
He says that once a news broke about the smuggling of sugar, flour and other goods from the border, due to which the mafia reached his house. They and their children were threatened with death, after which they had to refrain from publishing news and articles related to the border.
Further, if the government ensures the safety of journalists covering the border trade, it can prevent illegal trade and the government can earn billions of rupees annually. He further said that journalists in Balochistan do not face as many difficulties in covering the conflict as in covering stories related to the border.
Balochistan province is considered as a dangerous province for journalists, so far around 43 journalists have been killed here, in which 10 to 12 journalists were victims of bomb blasts or cross firing while performing their professional duties. Daesh, Taliban and Baloch separatist organizations have often attacked here.
Olus Yar, the leader of the Chamber of Commerce from Balochistan’s border town of Chaman, says that the Chaman-Afghan border is also known as the gateway to Central Asia, from where large-scale Pak-Afghan transit trade imports and exports have been taking place since before the creation of Pakistan. to be continued. Despite the large scale of trade, traders on the Chaman-Afghan border face a lot of difficulties compared to other borders of Pakistan.
Ulas Yar Achakzai complained about journalists from Balochistan and said that many of our problems are not reported by local journalists in the media, due to which our problems do not reach the higher authorities and we have to face losses.
Olsyar Achakzai explains that Chaman traders believe in ending smuggling and are trying to promote legal trade, but unfortunately there are reservations from various institutions in the country and often the legitimate demands of traders are not interested in journalists at the Chaman border. Due to this, the authorities cannot reach the top, due to which many traders leave the Chaman-Afghan border and go to other countries to do business, which can prove harmful to the country’s economy. If journalists cover their problems in national media, their problems can be solved and legal trade can be promoted.
Balochistan Union of Journalists General Secretary Manzoor Baloch says that journalism is the constitutional right of every journalist for which (BUJ) is working together with PFUJ so that any journalist in any part of the country There should be no difficulty in performing journalistic services.
Manzoor Baloch further states that if journalists are not allowed to cover the borders of Balochistan, they will take all kinds of measures to protect the rights of journalists.
A social worker from Naukandi Tehsil of Chagai district said on condition of anonymity that few social media activists in Noukandi pretend to be involved in journalism and regularly collect extortion from Levies Halkars at various check posts because Smuggling of petroleum products and other goods on the National Highway is on a large scale.
He further said that the matter does not end only with extortion from levies halkars at check posts but they have issued tokens for themselves at each check post. That is, they drive their own vehicles through which smuggling is carried out and extortion is not collected from these vehicles at the check posts that it is a journalist’s vehicle.
They say that if action is taken against them, there is systematic propaganda against government officials and institutions on social media and other platforms. Due to such persons, genuine journalists from Balochistan are facing difficulties in covering the border areas.
In this regard, the caretaker government’s provincial information minister John Muhammad Achakzai was contacted several times for his position but he refused to give any position.