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.