Abid Iqbal

MIRANSHAH: Trade activities with Afghanistan through Ghulam Khan border have witnessed increase after restoration of peace in North Waziristan tribal district and the district administration officials are hoping for further increase in business in coming days.

Trade activities were on peak from 2002 to 2014, but the border was closed completely after start of military operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan. The border remained closed completely for three years after the launch of the military operation.

Ghani Wazir, Tehsildar of Ghulam Khan, said while talking to TNN that the border was re-opened on March 9, 2018 and since then goods trucks are crossing the border from both sides and trade activities have resumed. He said that after closure of Torkham border, the local traders shifted to Torkham, Chaman and other areas to continue their business activities. He said these traders are now coming back to Ghulam Khan and re-opening their offices and shops.

Younis Khan, a vegetable trader, told TNN that he is very happy over re-opening of Ghulam Khan border. He urged the district administration, security forces and Customs officials to facilitate the traders and reduce the processing and clearance time for vehicles crossing the border. He said that the traders were facing no restrictions at Ghulam Khan border before operation Zarb-e-Azb. However, he said, now the clearance of a vehicle crossing the border costs from Rs8,000 to Rs21,000. He said taxes have been increased due to which the traders are facing difficulties.

Pakistan imports tomato, onion, potato, fresh and dry fruit and coal through Ghulam Khan border, while exports to Afghanistan include cement, rice, sugar and other items.

Tehsildar Ghani Wazir said an important meeting of officials from Pakistan and Afghanistan was held at Ghulam Khan border two days ago. He said Afghanistan has lifted ban on export of coal and dry fruit and 40 trucks carrying coal crossed Ghulam Khan border Tuesday. He said about 50 to 100 vehicles cross Ghulam Khan border daily. He said officials are making efforts to increase the number of vehicle daily crossing the border to 350.

Transporters say only one person is allowed to cross the border with a vehicle. They said this condition must be relaxed to facilitate the traders.

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