Islamabad. Pakistan on Tuesday ruled out the possibility of allowing US forces arriving from Afghanistan to have a longer presence in Islamabad, saying they would remain in the country for a limited period. Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has reacted after pictures of US forces at Islamabad airport surfaced on social media. After these pictures surfaced, there has been speculation about the possibility of a long-term presence of US forces in Pakistan.
The minister told Dawn newspaper that foreigners who have come to Pakistan after their evacuation from Afghanistan, their stay will be for a limited period and they have been issued transit visas ranging from 21 to 30 days. According to the report, he dismissed speculation of a return of the ‘Musharraf era’ and criticized Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the chief of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, for his claim that the government was booking hotels for Americans in the federal capital.
Rashid Ahmed said that about 2,192 people have come to Pakistan from Torkham border while 1,627 people reached Islamabad by planes. Apart from these, some people came from the Chaman border, although the number of such people is very less. From the Chaman border, many people travel daily between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Ahmed said that many Afghan nationals had come and returned from the Chaman border and this was “normal”.
He said that almost all Pakistani nationals have been evacuated from Afghanistan. He said that only 30-40 Pakistanis are still in Afghanistan and they do not want to come to the country because their families are there. The minister said the Taliban have assured the Pakistan government that the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) will not be allowed to use Afghanistan to conduct terrorist activities against Pakistan.