GILGIT: Khunjerab Pass, which remained shut for four months starting Nov 30, was reopened for travel and trade between Pakistan and China on Monday.

The border-crossing is now expected to keep functioning throughout the year.

On Oct 20, then-caretaker prime minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar held a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing where the two sides agreed to make the Khunjerab Pass operational throughout the year.

On Monday, a flag hoisting ceremony was held at the Sost Dry Port. The ceremony was attended, among others, by local traders, officials from the Hunza district administration and Customs officials.

Passengers cross the border to enter China; goods trucks arrive in Pakistan

Pakistani and Chinese flags were hoisted on the occasion and national anthems were played.

In his address Customs official Dr Asjad urged the traders to respect the department’s laws.

A van of the Northern Areas Transportation Cooperation, a government transport organisation, carrying passengers including Chinese citizens and European tourists crossed into China through the pass. From the other side, Chinese containers loaded with imported goods entered Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the annual permits exchange ceremony was held at the China Gate where Pakistani and Chinese officials exchanged documents and gifts.

Customs’ assistant collector at Sost, Imtiaz Shigri, told Dawn that a virtual meeting between Chinese and Pakistani officials decided to resolve trade-related issues with mutual coordination.

A focal person from Tashkurgan and another from Pakistan side were selected to coordinate with each other in this regard.

Mr Shigri expressed hope that this year, pace and volume of the two-way trade will increase and peaceful environment will be maintained.

Published in Dawn, April 2nd, 2024

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