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Torkham closure affects merchandise 

By Shamim Shahid-PESHAWAR: In the wake of growing tension between Pakistan and Afghanistan, erupted with latest acts of violent, Pak Afghan border at Torkham remain close for second consecutive day on Saturday.

Due to closure of Pak Afghan de-facto border for every sort of traffic and travelling, hundreds of trucks and trollers loaded with edible items like fresh fruits and vegetable along with commercial goods are stranded on both sides of the border. Similarly, thousands of people from both the countries stranded due to closure of Pak Afghan border.

Zia Ul Haq Sarhadi Senior Vice Chairman of Pakistan and Afghan Joint Chamber for Commerce and Industries while talking to VOA said that border closure and tensions between the two neighbouring countries badly affecting bilateral trade. He said that in a period of one year, this border was closed for traffic and travelling for around four times.

In response to a question, he said that the armed forces took the action of closing border in according to national interests and as Pakistani citizens he does support the move. On such grounds, he said there is no need to protest or to request the authorities concerned to allow resuming of routine trade and transportation on Pak-Afghan border.

Mr. Sarhadi recalled that due to deteriorating relations between the two countries bilateral trade was reduced from 2.5 billion US dollars to one billion dollar. He confirmed sharp decline in Pakistan’s exports to Afghanistan and also diverting of maximum transit trade to Central Asian Republics and neighbouring Iran.

Shakir Afridi President of Khyber Transporters Association has shown displeasure over closure of the border, which he said causing numerous economic hardships to people. He called upon both the government to resolve the issue amicably and let the trade, business and transport communities to continue their routine business. He recalled that since previous May ( 2016), Pak Afghan border frequently closed for travelling and transportation, badly affecting trade relations between the two neighbouring countries.

Due to closure of border there exists curfew like situation in border town of Torkham. Almost shops, trade centres and restaurants are locked whereas hundreds of vehicles are stranded right from Torkham till Hayatabad Peshawar. Beside goods trucks, hundreds of taxi motor cars are also parked in border town of Landi Kotal and Peshawar. Closure of border also affecting routine trade and business in activities in Landi Kotal and Hayatabad Peshawar.

Reports from border town of Landi Kotal reveal that security forces continued shelling of hideouts of militants associated with banned Tehrik Taliban Pakistan Jumaat Ul Ahrar across the border in Afghanistan. Though Pakistani authorities claiming inflicting of heavy human and logistic losses to militants but there is no confirmation of such reports from the independent sources.

Meanwhile, official claimed that three hard core militants were killed during security forces action on Maddi Road in Dera Ismael Khan City on mid night between Friday and Saturday.

The security forces action was in according to government’s latest policies after worst terrorist acts in different parts of the country. So far there is no further details of military action.

The officials said that killed militants identified as Maqboo alias Booli, Saad and Shafi. Government has already declared RS one million as head money on Maqbool alias Booli.

Two days back, militants attacked a police mobile van in Dera Ismael Khan, causing lives to at least five including four policemen.

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