TORKHAM: The arrival of stranded Pakistani nationals via Torkham border has started and in first phase, 200 people and 80 vehicles crossed the border and entered Pakistan on Friday.

Additional Assistant Commissioner Shamsul Islam said 200 Pakistani citizens and 80 vehicles were allowed to enter Pakistan through Torkham border after the Pakistan government gave permission in this regard. He said the same number of persons and vehicles will enter Pakistan in next phase today (Saturday).

Shamsul Islam said the civil administration, security forces and local police have made fool-proof arrangements to protect the passengers and local population from coronavirus. He said every single person entering Pakistan from Afghanistan has been checked, screened under the government standard operating procedures and then they are sent to quarantine centres set up at Landikotal High School and College under strict security. He said the vehicles are parked in Hamza Baba ground and sprayed with disinfectants.

The additional assistant commissioner said all the people in the quarantine will be given breakfast and two-time meals. He said the test samples of all the persons will be sent to Peshawar. He said those with positive cases will be provided treatment at isolation wards, while those clearing the tests will be sent home.

Local sources said when the Pakistani nationals arrived from Afghanistan, the administration officials, security forces, police and local elders welcomed them and inquired about their wellbeing. Those who arrived on busses thanked the Pakistan government for cooperation and said they are very happy over finally arriving back to their homeland. They said they will fully cooperate with the administration in the quarantine and hopefully will get back home after being cleared from coronavirus.

The Torkham and Chaman borders were closed by Pakistan after coronavirus was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO). However, keeping in view the difficulties of people due to short supplies of food and other items, the Pakistan government agreed to open the borders for three days for transit of goods. The Afghans stranded in Pakistan were also allowed to cross over to Afghanistan and then finally the Pakistanis stranded in Afghanistan also got permission to come to Pakistan.