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LANDI KOTAL: Trading activities at the Torkham border came to a halt on Thursday as local custom clearing agents, traders and transporters went on an indefinite strike against shortage of proper custom clearing facilities and undue interference by the National Logistic Cell authorities in the cross-border issues.

The All Torkham Custom Clearing Association had on Wednesday given a call for the strike after the concerned officials failed to positively respond to three of their demands.

The association chairman, Merajuddin Shinwari, told this scribe on Thursday that they were left with no other option, but to go on an indefinite strike as the concerned government authorities had failed to address their grievances.

He said that his association had repeatedly presented their three-point charter of demands to the customs collectorate in Peshawar, security officials in Landi Kotal and officials of the NLC and district administration, but to no avail.

Elaborating his point of view, he said that the custom officials introduced Web-based One Custom (Weboc) system for goods clearance at the Torkham border a few months ago, but had failed to ensure uninterrupted supply of electricity and smooth internet system.

He said that security checking of vehicles coming back from Afghanistan bringing import items was slow, which had been affecting their business as the clearance at times took more than a week.

Newly-elected president of the clearing agents association, Zar Qeef Khan, alleged that the National Logistic Cell was overstepping its authority which was also affecting the cross-border trade.

Published in Dawn, November 16th, 2018