Gul Hamad Farooqi

CHITRAL: The government on Tuesday has issued a notification of opening transit trade route, known as Durra pass near Shah Saleem in Chitral district to facilitate bilateral and transit trade activities with Afghanistan.

In this connection, ceremony was also held at Shah Saleem which was chaired by Sartaj Ahmed Khan, President of Chitral Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The guest of honour was Ihsan Ali Shah, Customs Collector of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

Major Usman of Chiral scouts, Lieutenant Colonel Abid, Tanveer Ahmed of the Customs Dry-port and other senior officials attended the ceremony. Ihsan officially inaugurated the trade route which was warmly welcomed by the local people and cultural show was also organized.

The KP customs collector and other staff members inspected the snow-covered route on horses back and reviewed the arrangements for the reopening of the customs office and other facilities. Talking to TNN, collector Ihsan Ali Shah said that it was a long-standing desire of the people of Shah Salim to reopen the trade route for trade as it would change the destiny of the area with economic activities. He said that reopening of this transit will boost trade and would benefit the locals and the area will emerge as a trade hub.

Sartaj Ahmed Khan said that the trade of precious stones in this way will be transformed by the mutual trade of rugs, wool, warm cloths, gemstones, herbs and many more goods. Khan said that the route was used to trade of billions of rupees in the past, but unfortunately, it has been closed for several years due to security situation in the region but now customs staff will come here and trade between the two countries will be made legal.

According to Sartaj, this is the nearest way to reach Tajikistan and through this, we can reach to China through this route as well. The people of the area expressed happiness and view it as the first step of development. It should be noted that Shah Salem’s route was quite busy in the past and that during the Afghan war, Afghan refugees and relief goods were coming through the same route.

People in the area also called on the wildlife department to take measures to protect the precious animals in the area.