QUETTA: A complete strike was observed in Chaman on Friday on the call of All Parties Traders Alliance against the closure of Pak-Afghan border by the Taliban government for more than two weeks.
All shops, markets, shopping malls and businesses remained closed in the border town.
Several rounds of negotiations between Afghan officials and border authorities of Pakistan for reopening the border have remained fruitless.
A delegation headed by Kandahar Governor Mullah Yousaf Wafa also held talks with Pakistani authorities at Spin Boldak, but Afghan authorities refused to open the border until Afghan nationals are allowed to cross into Pakistan on Afghan Teskera (identity card).
Pakistani border authorities said that they had not closed the border at Chaman but it was a decision taken by Afghan officials in Kandahar.
Leaders of the All Parties Traders Alliance Lala Jan Achakzai and Sadiq Achakzai said the business community was facing huge financial loss due to the closure of border for the past 17 days. They said prices of goods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, had gone up in the local markets as supplies from Afghanistan had been suspended.
“Thousands of daily-wage workers who earn their livelihood on both sides of the border have become jobless and they have no other means to earn their bread and butter,” they said, adding that several thousands of Pakistani and Afghan nationals, including patients, had also been struck up at Chaman and the Vesh Mandi areas.
They said restrictions on the pedestrians on both sides should be removed and they should be allowed border crossing on the national identity cards of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The traders said that unnecessary check-posts should be removed and border opened for 24 hours as Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced. They said a separate crossing gate for women should be established and the administrative powers of the Federal Investigation Agency restored.
The traders said representatives of the All Parties Traders Alliance should be included in the negotiation team which was holding negotiations with the Afghan authorities.
Published in Dawn, October 23rd, 2021