Violence-weary Chitrali people stage ‘Peace March’

Torkham border in Khyber district also remains shut owing to standoff between Pakistan, Afghan authorities

PESHAWAR  -  Following a military operation against Teh­reek-e-Taliban militants in the Bamboret valley of Chitral, people staged a peace march in Chitral city on Thursday.

During the event, the Tehreek Tahaffuz-e-Hqooq-e-Chitral chair­man, Pir Mukhtar, ex­pressed the demand for the restoration of peace in the district. "We are not afraid of wars. Our forefathers have waged wars in the past, but we want to live in peace," he stated. Mukhtar also emphasized the need for Chitrali security per­sonnel to be deployed within their district, citing their supe­rior knowledge of the local terrain for effective border security. Mukhtar ex­pressed concerns over reports of TTP militants gathering near the border area and questioned why security forc­es hadn’t taken preemptive measures to prevent their entry into Chitral. No­tably, Chitral’s Bamboret area shares a border with Afghanistan’s Kunar prov­ince, which was previously a battle­ground for intense confrontations be­tween US forces and the Afghan army on one side, and the Afghan Taliban on the other. Afghan border remains shut after clash: Meanwhile, markets remained closed, and hundreds of ve­hicles and containers were stranded on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghan­istan border at Torkham on Thursday, following Wednesday’s clash between Pakistani and Afghan Taliban soldiers. The Torkham border point is the main transit point for travellers and goods between Pakistan and landlocked Af­ghanistan. Ziaul Haq Sarhadi, direc­tor of the Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry, urged the concerned authorities in Pakistan and Afghanistan to take urgent measures for an amicable resolution of the ongo­ing dispute between the two countries at the Torkham border post, which has disrupted the passage of people and commercial activities from both sides. In a statement issued on Thursday, Sar­hadi, who is also a central leader of the All Pakistan Custom Clearing Agents Association, stated that the closure of the border for all kinds of traffic has severely impacted bilateral trade be­tween the two countries. He noted the long queue of trucks loaded with ex­port goods on both sides of the border, many carrying perishable items, which risk rotting and causing significant losses to businessmen. Sarhadi also pointed out that, besides the losses to the business community, the closure of the border has created a humanitari­an crisis by restricting the entry of pa­tients from the Afghanistan side who come to Pakistan for treatment daily.

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