Iran to wall off Baluchistan border

Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder investigates smuggling at the Baluchistan-Iran border.

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    Pakistan's paramilitary force regularly patrols the border with Iran.

     

    They're on the lookout for guns, drugs and illegal immigrants.

     

    But all they find tonight is fuel smugglers.

     

    Exclusive report

    Watch Kamal Hyder's report on Iran's controversial wall

    Some parked trucks are waiting for cheap Iranian fuel smuggled by camels and Iranian-made pickup trucks.

     

    The security forces thought they might be carrying weapons, so they search them, but discover nothing.

     

    But while it may be quiet here tonight, their comrades are trading fire along the Afghan frontier with narcotics traders.

     

    They have lost many men to an enemy that has fast vehicles and plenty of firepower.

     

    After a tense night, dawn comes at Taftan, Pakistan's only legal official border crossing into Iran and famed by locals as the "road to London".

     

    Over 600km from Quetta, getting to Taftan is a journey of almost 12 hours of careful driving.

     

    Frontier wall

     

    Iran is constructing a concrete wall and many locals suspect they may seal off the entire frontier.

     

    Just over the hills, less than 100km is Pakistan's frontier with  Afghanistan.

     

    Iran is building a wall along Pakistan's border in an effort to stem smuggling

     

    But for now, Iran has left gaps for locals to cross at what they call the Easement Gate and carry essential commodities.

     

    Both the governments have agreed that there should be easement rights, in spite of the fact that Iran is building a huge wall along its frontier with Pakistan.

     

    Growing trade

     

    Commercial trade between the two countries is growing. It is now over $250m, almost double of last year's.

     

    We got a rare chance to see exactly what these people carry across the border.

     

    There were crates and crates of mangos - this is the mango season in Pakistan and mangos are very popular.

     

    From the Iranian side however, detergents, toiletries, pastries and cakes are exported to Pakistan.

     

    Pakistan, Iran and India want to build a pipeline that will travel over Baluchistan's challenging terrain.

     

    The ground in some places may look deceptively plain but it is undulating.

     

    And security forces are already beefing up their strength in an area that is of vital importance as a corridor for the country’s future gas and oil pipelines.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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