Closed since 2019, Khunjerab to reopen for trade from 1st

Published March 27, 2022
In this photograph taken on September 29, 2015, a car carrying Chinese nationals crosses the Pak-China Khunjerab Pass, the world’s highest paved border crossing at 4,600 metres above sea level.—AFP file photo
In this photograph taken on September 29, 2015, a car carrying Chinese nationals crosses the Pak-China Khunjerab Pass, the world’s highest paved border crossing at 4,600 metres above sea level.—AFP file photo

GILGIT: After remaining closed for more than two and a half years, a key land border crossing between Pakistan and China at Khunjerab is being reopened for trade activities from April 1.

Khunjerab Pass was closed in November 2019 to contain the transmission of the coronavirus between the two countries.

The pass was temporarily opened in July and September 2020 and again in November 2021, only to facilitate the transportation of the containers loaded with goods that had been stranded in China.

During the temporary opening of the border, stranded containers from China were unloaded at Khunjerab Top instead of the port at Sost.

A notice issued by the district administration of Kashgar of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region said that according to an agreement signed by China with the government of Pakistan on May 22, 2013, the Khunjerab Pass will be officially upgraded on April 1, 2022.

According to officials, Chinese authorities have shared a letter with Pakistan regarding the reopening of the pass from April 1.

It is also mentioned in the letter that measures would be in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industries capital office in-charge Qurban Ali told Dawn the prolonged closure of Khunjerab Pass had caused immense financial hardships to the local business community.

GB traders have been demanding regular opening of trade through Khunjerab Pass with strict SOPs.

However, he said it is not yet clear whether trade is being opened on a regular basis or would just be limited to dropping containers at the Pakistan side.

Mr Ali said the region’s business community was dependent on trade with China, as there was no other industry there.

He demanded that Chinese authorities should relax visa conditions and allow border pass facility for Gilgit-Baltistan traders to travel to China.

Port authorities on the Chinese side have been instructed to take all necessary coronavirus preventive measures before the start of the arrival of goods from Pakistan.

Similarly, Pakistani border authorities have also been instructed to ensure the containment of the disease.

Under the protocol agreement signed between the two countries, trade and travel activities through Khunjerab pass continue from April to November.

Gilgit Baltistan is considered the gateway of CPEC, and locals say it is important to open regular trade through Khun­jerab Pass to ensure the success of the One Belt One Road project.

Published in Dawn, March 27th, 2022

Now you can follow Dawn Business on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook for insights on business, finance and tech from Pakistan and across the world.

Opinion

Editorial

The whole truth
28 Sep, 2022

The whole truth

THE war on truth has never been more relentless than it is today. Authoritarianism is on the rise and purveyors of...
Real-world trolls
Updated 28 Sep, 2022

Real-world trolls

It's reprehensible how PTI supporters now seem convinced that politicians from opposing camps aren't entitled to basic dignity.
Islamabad wildlife
28 Sep, 2022

Islamabad wildlife

PRESERVING biodiversity is low on the list of priorities of both state and society. However, successful attempts at...
Noon leaks
Updated 27 Sep, 2022

Noon leaks

PMO audio leaks are a national security emergency that ought to be investigated at the highest level.
Cipher probe offer
27 Sep, 2022

Cipher probe offer

CONSIDERING the toxic political polarisation in the country, former prime minister Imran Khan’s suggestion that ...
Delaying Doha plans
27 Sep, 2022

Delaying Doha plans

WHEN Doha announced its intention to spend $3bn in different commercial and investment sectors of Pakistan around a...