PESHAWAR: Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Afghanistan Mohammad Sadiq has said that all the private parking places along the Pak-Afghan border crossings are being abolished.

“All five border crossings opened recently (Torkham, Ghulam Khan, Kharlachi, Angoor Adda and Chaman) are now operational for crossing of trucks. Trying to speed up the clearance of trucks through better organisation and efficient handling. All private parkings being abolished,” Mohammad Sadiq said in a tweet.

All these border crossings were closed after the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic and fears of its spread across the border. However, after improvement in the situation and repeated demands of trade community and other people, the border crossings were reopened gradually for trade activities. People on both sides of the border took a sigh of relief after reopening of the border gates after a gap of four months.

Last month, Pakistan reopened Torkham, Chaman, and Ghulam Khan border crossings for trade activities, while the border crossings of Kharlachi and Angoor Adda were opened this month.

Pakistan is one of Afghanistan’s major trade partners and the largest market for Afghan exports. However, trade volume often remains affected due frequent border closures due to variety of reasons.

There are a total of 18 border crossing points between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Torkham and Chaman border crossings are the main points for trade and travelling. Experts believe that the trade volume can increased enormously if all the border crossing points are opened. Both the governments need to ensure proper security and environment to exploit the true potential of trade.

With the reopening of the five border points, trade activities immediately witnessed a boost on both sides of the border. However, traders are demanding further concessions and speeding up of the clearing process.

There is another problem with the opening of border crossings with Afghanistan in shape of increased prices of different export items in Pakistan, particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The prices of food items like fruit, vegetables, chicken, have witnessed increase as these are now exported to Afghanistan. Fruit and vegetable prices witnessed remarkable decline during lockdown situation, but as soon as the borders reopened, these items are now available in markets of KP at much higher prices.