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ISLAMABAD: The work on fencing remaining 171-km border with Iran is set to be completed by December 2023, with 659-km out of the total 830-km border already fenced to check human trafficking, smuggling and cross-border terrorist movement.

Sources in Defence Ministry confided to Business Recorder that the border with Iran is 70.30 per cent fenced and the remaining will be completed by the end of 2023. The fencing process could not be completed by December as scheduled 2021 due to the difficult terrain and lack of funds.

The sources further stated that the installation cost is around Rs. 3 million per km and this cost does not include equipment and other costs.

The total border to be fenced is 830.60-km and so far 658.751-km border has been completed whereas 83.39-km will be completed by the end of June 2022.

The Pakistan-Iran border begins at the Koh-i-Malik Salih Mountain and ends at Gwadar Bay in the Gulf of Oman. It includes a diverse landscape of mountain ridges, seasonal streams and rivers, and is notorious for human trafficking and smuggling, as well as, cross-border terrorist movement.

The sources further revealed that efficient border management is important to strengthen bilateral relations between Pakistan and Iran. Porous nature of border and unmanned border crossings are being exploited by terrorists, Baloch sub-nationals, smugglers, narcotics and human traffickers which create security problems besides causing serious economic losses to the country.

The military earlier stated that ongoing fencing including construction of border forts along Pakistan-Afghan border has proved to be a success and yielded positive results. This arrangement, if put in place, will mitigate effects of illegal smuggling causing loss of revenue, recent surge in terrorist incidents and sub-nationals’ activities in southern Balochistan. In this backup, the need for fencing Pakistan-Iran border becomes a strategic priority.

The fencing and allied defensive infrastructure includes forts and surveillance system. Besides fencing, thermal cameras, surveillance radars, PTZ cameras, ground and seismic sensors and solar lights will also be installed along the border.

The matter of fencing the Pak-Iran border was also discussed during the recent visit of Interior Minister of Iran, Ahmad Vahidi to Pakistan. He held meetings with Prime Minister Imran Khan, army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa and Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid to discuss a wide range of issues but focusing primarily on border management matters. The two countries also decided to form a joint working group to deal with these matters. His visit has come at a time when Pakistan is facing renewed terror incidents in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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