Frozen crossroads

The recent closure of the Torkham border, a vital artery of trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan, has dealt a crippling blow to the economies and livelihoods of both countries. This impasse, fuelled by visa friction and security concerns, threatens to cast a long shadow on bilateral relations and regional stability.

For generations, Torkham has pulsed with vibrant commerce, its bustling crossing serving as a conduit for vital goods and a lifeline for countless traders. Pakistani fruits and textiles flowed readily into Afghanistan, while Afghan carpets and dried fruits found receptive markets across the border. This mutually beneficial exchange not only spurred economic growth but also fostered cultural understanding and people-to-people ties. 

However, the recent closure has brought this vibrant exchange to a screeching halt. Trucks laden with perishable goods sit stranded, their produce rotting under the harsh sun. Small businesses, the backbone of both economies, face crippling losses as supply chains grind to a halt. The consequences are not confined to economic spheres; the humanitarian cost is equally worrisome. With access to essential goods and healthcare services disrupted, vulnerable communities on both sides bear the brunt of this impasse.

Furthermore, the Torkham closure casts a long shadow on the already fragile Pak-Afghan relationship. Mistrust and finger-pointing threaten to overshadow the need for dialogue and cooperation. It is imperative that both governments prioritise regional stability and economic prosperity over shortterm political gains. 

Therefore, I urge the leaders of both nations to recognize the devastating consequences of the Torkham closure and act swiftly to find a solution. A collaborative approach, driven by mutual respect and economic pragmatism, is the only way to revive this crucial artery of trade and foster a brighter future for the people of Pakistan and Afghanistan. SAJJAD ALI MUGHERI, Larkana.

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