GILGIT: The Khunjerab Pass will be temporarily opened from tomorrow (Wednesday) till August 10 to facilitate transportation of the containers loaded with goods stranded in China.

The border point has been closed since May 1 to contain coronavirus transmission.

It usually remains opened from May 1 to November end for trade and travel between Pakistan and China.

According to a notification issued by the ministry of foreign affairs in Islamabad, the Khunjerab pass will be opened from July 29 to August 10 for the purpose of bringing in stranded containers loaded with goods only.

It said no passengers would be allowed to travel through the pass during the period.

The notification said there were no more 50 stranded containers on Chinese territory, adding 10 or 12 containers could be transported per day.

An official of Pakistan Customs told Dawn on condition of anonymity that arrangements had been made to temporarily open the Khunjerab pass to bring in the stranded containers from China.

He said a medical checkpost had been established in the Chinese territory to contain coronavirus transmission to Pakistan.

The official said all stakeholders had been taken into confidence to reopen the border as all precautionary measures had been taken to contain Covid-19 infection.

He said GB traders had been facing losses of billions of rupees following the closure of Khunjerab pass due to the pandemic.

Through a letter, the GB importers and exporters association had requested the prime minister to reopen the Khunjerab pass for trade till November end.

Javed Hussain, former member of GB Assembly and businessmen, said GB traders had been facing huge financial losses due to the border closure.

Published in Dawn, July 28th, 2020