PESHAWAR - Deteriorating relations be­tween Islamabad and Kabul is not only affecting bilat­eral trade between the two neighbouring countries but it badly affected also those millions of people who are visiting each other’s since a long. The issuance of visa for travellers now becom­ing a serious task as diplo­mats of both the neighbour­ing countries are engaged in fixing of own minds in fixing of terms and condi­tions in this respect.

During frequent visits to Peshawar based Afghani­stan Consulate General, this scribe has witnessed long queues of people who are waiting right from dawn till dust. They also included women along with infants and aged people.

Soon after 9/11 and fall of Taliban regime in Kabul, Pakistan and Afghanistan declared Visa without fee or charges for people from both the countries in a bid to strengthen relations and improve bilateral trade and economic activities. Howev­er, from last couple of years, diplomats either Afghans in Islamabad and Peshawar or Pakistanis in Kabul and Jalalabad are becoming no­torious for “minting money through issuance of Visa’s.” The visa seekers from both the country have confirmed these reports and said that bribe rate in Kabul and Ja­lalabad is higher compare to Islamabad.

The diplomats in Pesha­war informed that every day they were issuing visa’s from 300 to 400 and same statistics were found from Kabul and Jalalabad. But number of applicants is much more, thus making anger the visa seekers from both the countries. On such grounds, Pakistani nation­als are holding demonstra­tions in front of Peshawar Press Club whereas the sentimental Afghans have ransacked the visa offices in Kabul and Jalalabad.

Though Peshawar based Afghan diplomats are re­luctant to respond to media regarding growing miseries of visa seekers. But some of them are justifying their acts and action in reaction of what they called increas­ing bribe in Pakistan’s Em­bassy at Kabul and Consul­ate General in Jalalabad. Without currency notes, passports are collected in Kabul but the applicants are given from seven to 15 days for visa. But here in Peshawar without currency notes, the passports are re­turned with humiliation.

Ironic to mention that of­fice holders of Pakistan Af­ghanistan Joint Chambers of Commerce’s, different political parties especially nationalists, transporters and tribal elders are cry­ing for easing of travelling restrictions between the two countries but no one is ready to listen in Islam­abad and Kabul. Now the self-styled restrictions and sanctions of diplomats seems to be part of conspir­acies, jointly engineered by hidden for making the two neighbouring countries as each other’s foes in real terms.