KHYBER: A container loaded with export goods falls on people at Torkham zero point on Sunday.—Photo by the writer
KHYBER: A container loaded with export goods falls on people at Torkham zero point on Sunday.—Photo by the writer

KHYBER: Two pedestrians were killed and eight other persons, including a Frontier Corps official, sustained injuries when a loaded container at the Torkham border crossing fell on them.

Officials said the incident occurred when the driver of a vehicle with a container loaded with miscellaneous export goods mounted on it, went to the border guards for getting a gate pass to cross over to Afghanistan while the stranded vehicle started moving and crashing into the steel grill fixed along the exit point which caused the dislocation of the loaded container from the vehicle.

At least 10 persons, including an Afghan child and an FC personnel, came under the heavy container, the officials said. Rescuers said they retrieved two bodies, both Afghan nationals, after lifting the container while rescuing the injured who were immediately taken to Landi Kotal hospital.

FC personnel among eight injured as loaded container falls at border crossing

Hospital sources said at least four critically injured, all Afghans, were referred to Peshawar.

The incident also caused suspension of traffic at the border for several hours.

Transporters have long been demanding assistant driver or cleaner be allowed to stay with the vehicle while the driver goes for getting gate pass, as their vehicle remains unattended and thus there was fear of theft or accident.

Security officials in the past argued that the ban on an assistant driver of cleaner was imposed for security reasons, particularly when most of the transporters did not carry legal travel documents.

Pakistani officials had suggested on a number of occasions to the Afghan authorities to widen the border crossing point by establishing two separate entry and exit points in order to ease traffic congestion at the border zero point. However, Afghan authorities had been opposing the suggestion, arguing that no new construction activity could be carried out at the zero point until the two neighbouring countries settled decades old border issue.

Customs officials said around 600 to 700 loaded vehicles cross the border on a daily basis.

Published in Dawn, December 5th, 2022

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