PESHAWAR: To boost trade with Afghanistan, the provincial government will keep the border at Torkham open around the clock for trucks to pass through. One day in the week, however, will be reserved for pedestrian traffic.
This was disclosed by the Adviser to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Chief Minister on Information Ajmal Khan Wazir on Thursday during his daily media briefing at the Civil Secretariat.
Wazir said that the Torkham border will remain open for bilateral trade with Afghanistan. Six days a week, all goods-bearing trucks will be allowed to pass through, as long as they observe the standard operating procedures (SOPs).
He added that the border crossing was opened for trucks a few days ago which has spurred trade between the two neighbours tremendously. He added that Kabul and Islamabad had both decided that Saturday will be reserved for pedestrians to cross the border.
On concerns over the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic transmitting over the border, Wazir said that Pakistanis who are returning home from Afghanistan through the border are being quarantined at isolation centres set up in the Khyber district. So far, 2,759 people have arrived at these quarantine centres from Afghanistan of which 2,260 have been released and 500 remain.
Wazir further said that given the prevalence of Covid-19 in the province, Chief Minister Mehmood Khan has announced to celebrate Eidul Fitr with simplicity and for all kinds of unnecessary activities to be avoided.
“This time Eidi should be distributed amongst the deserving people instead of their children,” he said, adding that precautionary measures should be strictly followed on the occasion.
He reiterated his appeal to philanthropists to help the needy and the poor people on Eid.
On the Covid-19 situation in the province, Wazir said that 340 cases were reported in the past 24 hours, taking the provincial total to 7,155. At least 14 associated deaths were also reported during this time, taking K-P’s total to 365.
Wazir said that K-P CM Mehmood Khan is leading from front against Corona, and he is visiting hospitals and quarantine centres
Published in The Express Tribune, May 22nd, 2020.