GILGIT: All is set to keep Khunjerab Pass route operational throughout the year for trade and general travel activities between Pakistan and China.

In this regard, a letter has been sent to Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman by member of Engineering Coordination Naseem Khattak, seeking necessary arrangements for facilitation of international transit trade and general travel. The letter pointed out that it was expected that the Karakoram Highway (KKH) would remain open this winter.

The letter mentioned that due to extremely high altitude and heavy snowfall, the KKH between Sost and Khunjerab (86km) remains blocked for traffic from December to April.

The letter said in view of the trade activities related to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), it has been decided to keep this route operational throughout the year.

It said the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) staff has been deployed on the KKH for routine maintenance works on the term- and length-based annual maintenance contract.

NHA, FWO sign agreement to keep KKH operational in winter for all types of traffic

The NHA and FWO also signed an agreement to keep the KKH open in the winter season between Sost and Khunjerab Pass for all types of traffic. “It is envisaged that the KKH will remain open during the winter season of 2023-24 for all types of cross-border traffic and, therefore, necessary arrangements will be required for facilitation of international transit trade and passengers at the border crossing point,” the letter said.

Another letter sent to the National Logistics Cell (NLC) Management of Sost Dry Port by Deputy Collector of Customs Collectorate, Gilgit-Baltistan, said that orders of the Prime Minister’s Office have been conveyed through the Office of the Chief Collector (North) that the Sost Dry Port will stay operational throughout the year.

The letter requested the NLC Sost Dry Port management to finalise arrangements to keep the port operational during the winter.

Meanwhile, according to the foreign ministry, during the caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar’s visit to China, the two sides decided to keep the pass open and, therefore, it will function all year round.

China and Pakistan also agreed to improve the infrastructure, construction and management of the Khunjerab Pass to ensure better and safe travel conditions on the route for all sorts of traffic.

The Khunjerab Pass connects Gilgit-Baltistan with China’s Xinjiang region and it is the highest paved international border in the world.

Published in Dawn, October 23th, 2023

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