Torkham gate named Bab-i-Pakistan

Published July 28, 2016
The newly constructed Bab-i-Pakistan gate at Torkham. -Photo by author.
The newly constructed Bab-i-Pakistan gate at Torkham. -Photo by author.

PESHAWAR: Pakistan on Thursday named the newly constructed gate at Torkham, the historic trade route and border crossing between Afghanistan and Pakistan, as Bab-i-Pakistan.

With the gate completed, flag hoisting ceremony on the Pakistani side has commenced.

The flag is hoisted at 6am, signaling the opening of the gate, and is lowered at 7pm, with the border crossing closed for the day. The flag ceremony mirrors the one conducted daily at Wagah border crossing.

It was deliberated earlier that the under construction gate be called Major Ali Jawad Changezi gate, after the army major lost his life in skirmishes against Afghan security forces.

The crossing terminal has now been named Shaheed Major Ali Jawad Changezi terminal. The name for the gate and the crossing terminal was decided in a high level security meeting, said sources.

Clashes between Pakis­tani and Afghan security forces over the construction of the border gate last month left four soldiers dead on both sides, including Frontier Corp’s Major Ali Jawad Changezi.

The clashes kept Torkham, one of the busiest crossing points between the two countries and used by 15,000 to 20,000 people and hundreds of vehicles daily, closed for six days.

The newly constructed Bab-i-Pakistan gate at Torkham. -Photo by author.

Work on the construction of the gate and allied facilities began in 2014, but Afghan reservations over border regulation kept causing delays.

At least 10 border flag meetings have been held between local commanders since 2015 for resolving the matter, in addition to several other interactions at higher level.

The Afghan government has traditionally opposed Pakistani moves to regulate the border.

Pakistani authorities, meanwhile, insist that border regulation is crucial for curbing cross-border terrorist movement in both ways.

Under the new border management system, only people with valid travel documents will be allowed to cross the border.

Pakistan plans to have similar border control measures at all six major crossing points between the two countries that share a 2,600km-long porous border.

Additionally, there are about 200 crossing routes which are not frequently used because of difficult terrain and absence of roads. At least 88 of them are accessible only through jeeps.

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