QUETTA: Vehicular traffic between Quetta and Chaman was suspended on Monday as workers of the All Parties Traders Alliance and labourers who work at Pak-Afghan border blocked Quetta-Chaman highway at Khojak Pass to protest against the closure of the border crossing for the last 20 days.
After staging demonstrations in Chaman for the last three days, they finally blocked the highway by erecting barricades on the road and placing huge boulders at the top of Khojak Pass linking Pakistan with Afghanistan.
“We will continue to block the highway till the reopening of Chaman border crossing,” Sadiq Achakzai, the president of the All Parties Traders Alliance, told Dawn over telephone.
Reopening of Pak-Afghan border urged
He said, “Everyday, the authorities concerned tell us that the border will be reopened today or tomorrow, but to no avail.”
Mr Achakzai said that with the closure of the border thousands of workers had become jobless and were facing difficulties in feeding their families.
He said that thousands of Pakistani and Afghan people had been stranded at both sides of the border and were waiting for the opening of the border.
The Chaman border crossing, the second-largest commercial border point between the two countries after Torkham in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, links with Spin Boldak in the Afghan province of Kandahar, and is regularly used by thousands of labourers and traders from both countries.
The Taliban regime closed the border 20 days ago without informing the Pakistani border authorities. They are demanding that people from Afghanistan should be allowed to cross into Pakistan by showing Afghan ID cards instead of being asked to show other travel documents.
At least four meetings were held between Pakistani and Afghan border authorities to address the issue but they yielded no result. Governor of Kandahar Yousaf Wafa also
participated in one of the meetings in Spin Boldak, but he said that Pakistan should talk to Kabul regarding reopening of the border as he had no authority to take decision in this regard.
However, sources said that on Sunday night the gates were opened from both sides and people stranded at the both sides of the border for the last over two weeks were allowed to cross into their countries.
“Patients and other people have crossed the border with the permission of security officials,” an official of the border authorities said.
Hundreds of trucks and other vehicles loaded with goods have been stuck up at both sides of the border.
Published in Dawn, October 26th, 2021