Prime Minister Imran Khan. - A file photo

PESHAWAR: Prime Minister Imran Khan has again postponed his visit to Torkham border to formally inaugurate the 24/7 service as the border.

The prime minister was scheduled to visit Torkham border today (Saturday) to inaugurate the round the clock functioning of the border, but he postponed the visit late on Friday night. Now the visit of the prime minister to Torkham border has been rescheduled to September 18.

Sources said the prime minister had to postpone his visit due to his so many engagements in Islamabad. It is third time since July that the visit of Imran Khan to the border has been postponed. It was to be the first visit of Imran Khan to Torkham Border after taking charge as prime minister.

Strict security arrangements were made for the expected visit of the prime minister and beside best 70 contingents of police, additional security personnel were also deployed at Torkham border and Pak-Afghan Highway to ensure fool proof security. The border crossing was also closed for pedestrians and vehicles on the occasion of expected visit of the premier. Police had also announced to keep Landikotal Bazaar closed today as part of security measures.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Health Minister Hasham Inamullah had also visited Torkham border on Friday to review healthcare arrangements. He had said on the occasion of his visit that Pakistan wants to promote ties with Afghanistan in diverse fields, particularly in healthcare and tourism. He had also announced that the prime minister will inaugurate water filtration plant at the health centre at Torkham border during his visit.

On January 29, Prime Minister Imran Khan had issued directions to take steps to keep Torkham border open round the clock within six months to promote bilateral trade and people-to-people contacts.

This announcement by the premier was welcomed by people on both sides of the border, particularly the traders. The volume of Pak-Afghan trade through Torkham border was Rs350 billion in 2012, which came down to Rs120 billion in 2018. Traders are hopeful that round the clock opening of the border will again take bilateral trade to its full potential which will benefit both the countries.