- Reports show curfew-like situation in Torkham town due to border closure
- Local businessmen point at sharp decline in exports to Afghanistan
In the wake of growing tension between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Pak-Afghan border at Torkham remained close for the second consecutive day on Saturday.
Due to closure of the border for every sort of traffic and travelling, hundreds of trucks and trollers loaded with edible items like fresh fruits and vegetable along with commercial goods are stranded on both sides of the border. Similarly, thousands of people from both sides also stranded due to closure of the border gate.
Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industries Senior Vice Chairman Ziaul Haq Sarhadi said that the border closure and tensions between the two neighbouring countries badly affecting bilateral trade. In a period of one year, this border was closed for traffic and travelling for around four times, he said.
In response to a question, he said that the authorities took the action of closing border in according to national interests and as Pakistani citizens he also support the move. On such grounds, he said that there was no need to protest or to request the authorities concerned to allow resuming of the routine trade and transportation on the border.
Sarhadi recalled that due to deteriorating relations between the two countries bilateral trade was reduced from 2.5 billion dollars to one billion dollar. He confirmed sharp decline in Pakistan’s exports to Afghanistan and also diverting of maximum transit trade to the Central Asian Republics and Iran.
Khyber Transporters Association president Shakir Afridi has showed displeasure over the closure of the border, and pointed out numerous economic hardships for the business people. He called upon the governments in Islamabad and Kabul to resolve the issue amicably and let the trade, business and transport communities to continue their routine business.
He recalled that since May (2016), the Pak-Afghan border frequently closed for travelling and transportation, badly affecting trade relations between the two countries. Due to border closure, there exists curfew like situation in border town of Torkham. Almost all shops, trade centres and restaurants are locked whereas hundreds of vehicles are stranded right from Torkham till Hayatabad in Peshawar.
Beside goods trucks, hundreds of taxi cars are also parked in border town of Landi Kotal and Peshawar. Reports from the border town of Landi Kotal reveal that security forces continued shelling of the hideouts of the militants associated with the banned militant outfits across the border in Afghanistan. The authorities confirmed heavy losses to the militants.