Pakistan resumes cross-border trade with Afghanistan

| 20 March 2017, 14:57

After closure for more than a month, Pakistan opened its crossing points for trade and passengers with Afghanistan on Monday.

Traders lost at least $ 4 million on daily basis due to the closure by Pakistan after terrorist attacks that claimed over 90 lives in the country in February. Islamabad alleged the terrorists with sanctuaries in Afghanistan were behind the attack, a claim rejected by Kabul.

On Monday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif directed the relevant authorities to immediately re-opening the crossing points with Afghanistan.

In a statement, he said recent incidents of terrorism in Pakistan have been traced back to anti-Pakistan elements in Afghanistan. However, the decision to re-open the border is being taken as closure of the border for a long time in the backdrop of, religious, culture and historical ties between the two countries would not be in the interest of the people and the economy.

He said the decision to re-open the border is being taken as a goodwill gesture. The Prime Minister hoped that the Afghan Government would take measures to address the reasons for which the borders were closed.

It is worth noticing that the pores border between the two countries, which is refer to as ‘Durand Line’--named after the Colonial-era British diplomat, is not recognized as international border by Afghanistan citing its longstanding claims over the Pashtun heartland which is divided by it.

The Pashtunes lying on both sides of the border called ‘Durand Line’ here were affected the most as thousands of them frequent urban centers on both sides for jobs and other purposes on daily basis.
Trade communities on both sides, however, lamented the daily losses of up to $ 4 million.

According to the sources at the Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI), supplies of perishable items bore the brunt of the closure on both sides.