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PM Khan orders arrangements for Torkham border to remain open 'round the clock'

Updated January 28, 2019

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Prime Minister Imran Khan says the round-the-clock functioning of the Torkham border crossing  will be "instrumental in boosting bilateral trade & enhancing people to people contacts" between Afghanistan and Pakistan. —
Prime Minister Imran Khan says the round-the-clock functioning of the Torkham border crossing will be "instrumental in boosting bilateral trade & enhancing people to people contacts" between Afghanistan and Pakistan. —

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said he has tasked officials to make arrangements so that the Torkham border crossing to Afghanistan can remain open 24 hours a day. He said he wants to see a plan finalised and implemented within the next six months.

In a tweet, the premier said the functioning of the border crossing "round the clock" would be "instrumental in boosting bilateral trade [and] enhancing people to people contacts between the two brotherly countries".

Khan's post followed an announcement by KP Finance Minister Taimur Saleem Khan Jhagra, who revealed earlier in the day that the federal and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments had decided to expedite the reopening of the Torkham border crossing.

A day after Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said that work on a 900-kilometre-long portion of fence along the Pak-Afghan border has been completed, the KP minister announced "two key decisions" regarding the Torkham border.

KP Finance Minister Taimur Saleem Khan Jhagra says the government has decided to keep Torkham border open seven days a week. — File
KP Finance Minister Taimur Saleem Khan Jhagra says the government has decided to keep Torkham border open seven days a week. — File

"In a joint meeting with the federal government, two key decisions [were taken]," Jhagra tweeted. "First, to open Torkham border 7 days a week asap, and second, to create a task force to open the border 24-7 within 6-12 months."

The development, the minister said, is "very positive news for the Pakhtunkhwa and Khyber district economies".

A day earlier, the DG ISPR had given an update to journalists and anchorpersons regarding the fencing work along the Pak-Afghan border.

Maj Gen Ghafoor said that the fence had helped check the movement of terrorists from across the border and the situation would further improve after the completion of the project next year.

In 2018, bilateral trade with Afghanistan via the Torkham border crossing had gained momentum, albeit at a slow pace, as the government decided to ease certain restrictions it had imposed on export and import to and from Afghanistan since 2016.

In November, however, trade at the border was suspended for several days after customs clearing agents and transporters went on a strike citing a lack of facilities.