Trade activities at Chaman resume today

Torkham, Chaman borders to open for three days a week

Mohammad Zafar/abuzar Afridi April 11, 2020

LANDI KOTAL/ QUETTA: After the partial resumption of trade activities at the Torkham border, the Chaman border will be opened on Saturday (today) for trade activities that will be limited to three days a week.

The development comes after Prime Minister Imran Khan’s March 20 tweet where he instructed the authorities concerned to open the Chaman-Spinboldak border and let trucks cross over into Afghanistan. The PM said that “in time of crisis, we remain steadfast with Afghanistan.”

Following the orders, the Khyber district administration on Friday allowed one-sided cargo entries from Pakistan to Afghanistan. As per the decision, the border will be open three days a week.

Deputy Commissioner Mahmood Khan Wazir, who witnessed the transportation of containers at the zero point, said vehicles were showered with anti-coronavirus spray and “international protocol for transportation” was followed during the activity.

“The Pakistani drivers took the vehicles to Afghanistan side and handed them over to the Afghan drivers. Drivers and trucks were showered with anti-coronavirus spray,” he told The Express Tribune.

More than 35 vehicles crossed the cargo points and entered into Afghanistan, he said, adding that the drivers wore special uniforms.

It is pertinent to mention that the Pak-Afghan border was temporarily closed from March 16 because of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Security measures

On the opening of the one-sided traffic, special security measures have been adopted, including the deployment of extra troops at the border.

Landi Kotal Police Circle In-charge Swalzar Khan Afridi told The Express Tribune that in order to prevent any unwanted incident special measures have been adopted and police personnel is also taking part in spraying the drivers and vehicles.

“The Afghan refugee entries were banned from Friday. Only Afghan transit vehicles are allowed to enter Afghanistan, but no visitors or vehicles allowed to enter into Pakistani side,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Pak-Afghan border Chaman will partially open on Saturday (today) for trade activities after 39 days of pause, allowing items and Afghan Transit Trade containers to cross into Afghanistan.

According to media reports, over 6,000 drivers and more than 3,000 goods laden trucks are stranded at the Pak-Afghan border from the last one month.

In order to show good gesture, the federal government has decided to re-open the Pak-Afghan friendship gates for three days in a week.

“Containers carrying fresh items, edibles, and the Afghan Transit Trade goods will be allowed to cross into Afghanistan through the Chaman border,” a government official said, adding that the government has decided to open the border for three days in a week only for trade activities.

The Health Department has constituted teams to ensure disinfectant spray on people crossing into the border, while Afghan government would too screen out the drivers crossing into their territory.

“Approximately 100 containers will cross the border. The government should take more measures for farmers because border closure has directly impacted the agriculture sector,” Haji Ghosullah Achakzai, a member of the Quetta Chamber of Commerce and Industries, told The Express Tribune.

He urged the government to open borders for vegetable export.


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