GILGIT: The importers have complained that they are struggling to deliver goods from China to Pakistan via Khunjerab Pass before the Nov 30 border closure due to the shortage of Chinese containers.
They demanded of the authorities to delay the border closure until Dec 31 to ensure the transportation of goods purchased by them.
Under a protocol agreement signed between Pakistani and Chinese authorities, the Khunjerab Pass is closed on Nov 30 and reopened on April 1 every year.
The goods transportation and bus service between Sust valley of Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashgar city of Xinjiang province, China, happens from April 1 to Dec 1 every year.
Only Chinese containers are allowed to carry goods from China to Pakistan.
The businesspersons feared that they would suffer losses of billions of rupees if the shortage of Chinese containers continued next week.
They said the goods purchased from China for Pakistan and valuing billions of rupees had been lying on the Chinese side of the border due to the shortage of containers.
The GB traders associated importing and exporting goods feared that if the stranded cargo was not delivered from Kashgar city in Xinjiang province to Pakistan before Nov 31, they would suffer losses of billions of rupees.
Former president of the Gilgit-Baltistan chamber of commerce Nasir Hussain Raki declared the shortage artificial.
The president of the Hunza chamber of commerce and industry wrote a letter to Pakistan’s ambassador in China saying important items needed to be transported to Pakistan continued to be in China due to heavy snowfall at Khunjerab Pass.
He said the transportation of stranded goods from China to Pakistan was not possible until the end of the current month, so the border closure date should be extended from Dec 1 to Dec 31 to ensure the transportation of all those items.
“If the date to close Khunjerab border is not extended, traders will face huge financial losses,” he warned.
Trader Iqbal Hussain said currently, there was an artificial shortage of transportation from China to Pakistan.
He said Pakistani traders paid higher fare for the delivery of goods from China to Pakistan as Chinese transporters exploited their needs.
Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2019