Chaman border closure

Closure of the border is hurting all those involved in trade between the two countries

October 26, 2021

After suffering losses as a result of the coronavirus-induced lockdowns, Pakistani and Afghan traders are sustaining heavy losses due the closure of the Chaman border for more than two weeks. It is through this border that most of the export and import between the two countries take place. Businessmen on the Pakistani side of the border say they are suffering daily losses to the tune of Rs100 million. On either side of the border, hundreds of trucks carrying goods have been lying stranded for more than a fortnight waiting interminably for the border to open. As a result, Pakistani drivers returning from Afghanistan are finding it difficult to even buy food for want of money. There is no end to their troubles. Truck drivers on the Afghan side might be facing an identical situation. Last week, traders in Chaman town observed a complete strike to make governments in the two countries hear their voice and do the needful.

Border authorities of Pakistan have reportedly held numerous rounds of talks with their Afghan counterparts in order to get the border opened. The issue remains unresolved. The closure of the border is not only resulting in hardships for businessmen, but it is also hurting all those involved in trade between the two countries. Most of all, it is adding to joblessness. There are reports that due to bad economic conditions, the demand for goods has drastically fallen in Afghanistan. This also applies to Pakistan to some extent for the same reason. Ever since Pakistan announced that it would carry on trade with Afghanistan in rupee in view of the deteriorating fiscal situation of Kabul, forces inimical to the two friendly countries have been trying their level best to sabotage Pak-Afghan relations, particularly targeting their export and import business.

Residents of Chaman and surrounding areas say they need jobs, proper health facilities, supply of electricity and gas, and the continued shutdown of the border is adding to their problems. These issues need government’s urgent attention.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 26th, 2021.

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