KHYBER AGENCY - ­­­Despite tall claims of the political administration Khyber Agency for elimination of corruption, extortion from transporters is in progress at Torkham border and Khasadar and other political administration officials are fleecing truckers with their both hands.

On condition of anonymity, a Khasadar official revealed that eight to ten Khasadar force commanders executing their duties on seven key points have been deployed by the officials of President Secretariat, Prime Minister House, provincial government, Governor House Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, FATA Secretariat, MNAs from Khyber Agency, Assistant Political Agents (APAs), Political Agent (PA) Khyber, influential elders of tribal belt and journalists.

The commanders, he added were collecting illicit money from drivers who transport various materials to Afghanistan, not only for making their bank balances but also pass on to the mentioned officials of relevant departments who has deployed them on the specific profitable and productive points.

“Apart from officials of various departments, the money of extortions is being distributed among APAs of three tehsils of Khyber Agency and Political Agent,” officials further disclosed.

Providing details one of the Torkham Custom official and on duty Khasadar said at least 1,000 to 2,000 small and long vehicles daily cross the Pak-Afghan border at Torkham, transporting different sorts, including fruits, vegetables, ghee, steels, pipes, check board, wood, cement, food items beside with vehicles loading commodities transporting for US and NATO forces stationed in Afghanistan.

While narrating his grievance, an Afghan national driver Agat Gul said after entering into premises of Torkham which is approximately one and half kilometer area till the very border, the posted Khasadar personnel start collection of extortion and in seven various points they are looted by political administration officials.

He revealed after entering Torkham area of Pakistani side, they have to pay Rs1500 to Rs2000 per vehicle at different points to Khasadar officials. On trefusal of paying the unlawful money, the Khasadar personnel humiliate them and do not let to move the wheel of trailers as they beat us with sticks, drivers remarked.

The drivers were of the view that they have no other option to get rid of Khasadar officials but to pay because they have to deliver the loaded goods on time.

The traders community also expressed reservation over the unlawful act of the Khasadar and said the rude behaviour on the side of administration officials have forced the businessmen to search for an alternate route. Majority of Afghan importers have diverted their business activities to Iran, they opined.

While expressing his views, Abdul Hakim Shinwari, former senior vice president of Tribal Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Chairman of Standing committee in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Commerce and Industry on tribal Affairs said Pak-Torkham border is lacking a proper system which not only affects transporters but also labourers, local tribesmen and businessmen who import and export merchandise goods.

He stated that every official was looting transporters on Torkham border and such approach greatly harmed trading activities and reduced business in the area. Making comparison, he said even the war-hit Afghanistan has much more effective system than Pakistan.

When PA Khyber Mutahir Zeb was contacted repeatedly on cell phone, no.03159924768 for his version on the matter, he did not reply. Similarly when Assistant Political Agent (APA) Landi kotal Tayyab Abdullah was asked for his comments on his phone, no. 03339103510   he also declined to utter any words regarding the ongoing corruption in Torkham.