KHYBER: The recent hike in the prices of petroleum products has adversely affected the transporters involved in bilateral trade with Afghanistan via Torkham border.

They told this scribe that increase in petroleum products not only made their travelling expensive but also impacted their personal expenditures while their fares remained the same.

Rahat Khan, a container driver, said that three-time increase in petroleum products in as much weeks by the government confronted them with serious financial problems as the contractors and exporters were not willing to increase their fare from Karachi to Kabul.

He said that it was now next to impossible to take trade consignments to Kabul with the existing fare as it could not even cater to their personal requirements.

Drivers say they find it difficult to take goods to Afghanistan

Sami Jan, another driver, said that the hike in petroleum prices also pushed the prices of almost all the daily use items while their fares remained unchanged. He said that they were not expecting hike in the diesel prices and were finding it difficult to cope with the situation.

“I used to fill the tank of my vehicle for Rs40,000. Now it requires Rs100,000, which is a huge increase and many of the transporters on the Karachi-Kabul route cannot afford this additional burden,” he said.

Hikmat Khan, a taxi driver commuting on Landi Kotal-Torkham road, said that they also felt the ‘crunch’ of increase in petroleum products as their passengers were not willing to pay additional fare.

He said that they used to charge Rs70 per passenger, mostly Afghan nationals, from Landi Kotal to Torkham but were now compelled to raise the fare to Rs100, which most of the passengers were not willing to pay.

Meanwhile, Pakistan granted permission of treatment in Lahore to nine Afghan children suffering from heart ailments.

Officials at Torkham border said that all the nine Afghan children had holes in their hearts and they would be operated upon by specialist Pakistani doctors in Lahore.

They said that Afghan Red Crescent Society handed over the ailing patients to volunteers of Al-Khidmat Health Foundation. They said that Afghan health authorities had requested for treatment of the children having holes in their hearts during a visit of the Al-Khidmat Health Foundation officials to Kabul.

The Afghan health authorities had told the delegation that the number of children with cardiac ailments in Afghanistan was over 8,000 and there was no specialised treatment for such patients. The Al-Khidmat Health Foundation has agreed to make arrangements for free treatment of these children.

Published in Dawn,June 20th, 2022

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