MIRANSHAH: The closure of Pak-Afghan border in Ghulam Khan and alleged imposition of heavy Customs Tax by the administration has badly affected the business of pine nuts (chilgoza).

The traders of pine nuts fear that they may end up with heavy losses if the situation did not improve. Chilgoza is transported to all parts of the country and abroad from its largest market in Asia, which is situated eat Bannu-Miranshah Road. Waziristan is known for producing high quality pine nuts. The business suffered a setback with closure of Ghulam Khan border and fencing of the border which has taken the mountains producing chilgoza far from the reach of traders.

Traders say people will not get chilgoza this year easily as its trade has come to a halt. Traders alleged that artificial tax in the name of Customs Tax has been received from chilgoza traders. They said that after closure of the border gate, the chilgoza of Shawal area of North Waziristan tribal district is being transported to Afghanistan and then it is supplied directly to China via airplanes.

Traders said the chilgoza produced in Waziristan has great demand in China. They said their direct business with China has suffered despite the fact that the chilgoza which is being supplied from Afghanistan to China also originally belongs to Waziristan.

Traders said it is because of faulty policies of authorities in Pakistan that Pakistan’s own pine nuts are being transported by traders in Khost area of Afghanistan to different areas. This is the reason, they said, the auction of chilgoza in Pakistani market is very low nowadays. They said chilgoza keeps on losing weight if it is not sold for few days, which causes huge financial losses for traders and also affects quality of the dry fruit.

Traders demanded the government to open the Pak-Afghan border in Ghulam Khan and end the practice of receiving artificial tax. They said the country will earn valuable revenue if chilgoza traders are allowed to do their business freely and they face no hindrance at border. They said right decision from Pakistani authorities will save traders from massive loss.

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