PESHAWAR, 20 March: Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Monday ordered immediate reopening of the Pak-Afghan border.

According to a statement released by the Prime Minister Office in Islamabad, the decision to reopen the border was taken as a goodwill gesture.

Pakistan on February 16, unilaterally closed all border crossings with Afghanistan following a deadly suicide bomb blast in Sehwan last month, in which at least 88 people were killed and more than 100 were injured. The blast was said to be planned and carried out by Afghanistan-based terrorists.

The prime minister while issuing orders of immediate reopening of the gates noted that Pakistan closed the borders because the terrorists’ activities took place in different cities were said to be carried out by Afghanistan-based militants

However, the premier added that the two neighboring countries enjoyed centuries-long cultural, religious and historical relations and the closure of borders for longer period was not good for economies and the people of the two countries.

The prime minister hoped that the Afghan government would take steps to eradicate the causes for which the borders were closed.

He observed that peaceful and stable Afghanistan was in the best interest of Pakistan, adding Pakistan would continue to support Afghanistan in eliminating terrorism from the country.

Pakistan temporarily opened the Torkham and Chaman borders for two days on March 7 and 8 to allow stranded Afghan nationals, who had come on valid visas, to return to their country.