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A tale of two walls

By Russell Grenning - posted Thursday, 12 April 2018


Pakistanhas now conceded that playing a double game with the terrorists by pledging to do all it could to crack down on them while really looking the other way was self-defeating. The government now says more than 80,000 of its citizens have been killed by terrorists. In December, 2014, extremists attacked a school in north-west Pakistan killing 132 children and that was only one of many outrages. Their border wall is saying to the terrorists that enough is enough. Added to their wall is a beefed-up passport and identification card regime.

One problem that Pakistan has is that the border which rambles across very difficult terrain was drawn by the British in 1896 with no regard to affected tribes and families many of which were divided. The so-called "easement right" granted by the colonial British to allow cross-border traffic continued under independent Pakistan which now admits that it has been far too lenient in the past.

Another key element of the new Pakistani counter-terrorism policy has been the deliberate levelling of border villages that have been identified as safe havens for terrorists.

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Pakistan's difficulties are further compounded by the almost complete absence of any security on the Afghan side of the border. In fact, Afghanistan refuses to formally accept the border and has resisted any formal demarcation.

The Pakistani Army's border commander Major General Nadeem Anjum has said that there have been attempts by terrorists to breach the wall but that these have been unsuccessful.

He has great faith in the new policy. "Fence it then manage it," he said. "It's the simplest solution in the history of the world."

Faced with similar problems it is hardly strange that the Pakistani and Hungarian Governments have been broadly saying the same things and implementing the same policy.

And both, in their own ways, echo President Trump's policy on stopping illegal immigrants.

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About the Author

Russell Grenning is a retired political adviser and journalist who began his career at the ABC in 1968 and subsequently worked for the then Brisbane afternoon daily, The Telegraph and later as a columnist for The Courier Mail and The Australian.

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Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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