Pak-Afghan border closure causing miseries for traders, pedestrians

Long queues of vehicles loaded with export and transit commodities can be seen on Pak-Afghan highway

KHYBER    -   The closure of the Pak-Afghan bor­der crossing at Torkham has add­ed to the misery of pedestrians and traders, as the crossing was closed for the fifth consecutive day (Thurs­day) for all types of movement.

It should be noted that last Sun­day night, in response to Paki­stani officials’ refusal to allow the patient’s attendants to cross the border on the grounds of lack of travel documents, Afghan border security officials closed the border in protest for all kinds of motion. Hundreds of Afghan citizens in­cluding women and children were stranded at the border, in addition to traders, local shopkeepers, dai­ly wagers, and people from vari­ous walks of life.

Eid Rehman, an Afghan nation­al from Afghanistan’s Khost prov­ince, stated that he visited Pesha­war a week ago to be cured of his disease, but after being treated, the border was closed, and he had been waiting to cross the border to his native country for the last five days. He suggested that the neighbouring Muslim countries resolve their differences through dialogue.

According to a local trader, Shah Jehan, the border closure direct­ly impacted traders, and in recent practise, exporters lost millions of rupees due to trucks of perishable export items spoiling on the Pak-Af­ghan Road. He believes that sever­al vegetable and fruit-laden trucks were sent back to Peshawar to save the exporters from heavy losses.

Long queues of vehicles load­ed with export and transit com­modities could be seen on the Pak-Afghan highway since the bor­der was closed five days ago, and truckers were forced to spend nights on the road under an open sky, drivers said.

On Wednesday, Afghan govern­ment’s Deputy Spokesperson Bilal Karimi confirmed via social media that the border would be reopened the following day, and Afghan bor­der security officials resumed it as per the direction, but Pakistani of­ficials on Thursday refused to re­sume it until they received formal written orders from their high-ups, and the border remained closed until the story was filed.

Previously, a high-level Pakistan delegation visited Kabul to discuss issues of mutual interest, and both countries agreed that political and security concerns should not be allowed to interfere with business and economic matters.

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