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No trade via Torkham, Kharlachi as talks fizzle out

No trade via Torkham, Kharlachi as talks fizzle out

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15 Jan 2024 - 10:58
No trade via Torkham, Kharlachi as talks fizzle out
author avatar
15 Jan 2024 - 10:58

PESHAWAR (Pajhwok): Pakistan-Afghanistan trade via Torkham remains suspended as officials failed to reach an agreement on resolving the issue of visa restrictions on truck drivers.

A meeting between Torkham-based officials from the two countries fizzled out on Sunday when no trucker was allowed to cross the Durand Line, Dawn reported.

Although the deadlock on travel curbs persisted, authorities agreed to convey messages from each side to their respective seniors, the newspaper said.

With no breakthrough in sight, customs officials ‘advised’ Pakistani fruit merchants to transport their merchandise back to Peshawar for safe storage.

Enforcing the visa and passport conditions for Afghan drivers and helpers, Pakistan shut the busy crossing — a major commercial hub — for all sorts of cargo traffic on Saturday.

In a tit-for-tat response, Afghan border police personnel also imposed similar curbs on Pakistani drivers. As a consequence, cargo traffic came to a halt.

Meanwhile, trade between the neighbours through the Kharlachi crossing in Kurram also came to a standstill.

Several Pakistani trucks loaded with fish were denied entry into Afghanistan via Kharlachi, said customs clearing agent Qari Nazim Gul Shinwari.

Due to the closure of the Torkham crossing, he told reporters, they had sent around 14 trucks to Kharlachi. But they were refused entry into Afghanistan.

Amid traffic congestion on both sides of the Torkham gate, customs and security officials continued trying to break the stalemate.

With long queues of goods-laden vehicles stranded on both sides, not a single truck was allowed to enter Afghanistan or Pakistan on Sunday. Pedestrian movement, however, stayed unaffected.


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