Business community welcomed the decision as a major step to promote Pakistan and Afghanistan trade
Pakistan’s Ministry of Interior announced the opening of the Pak-Afghan border at Torkhem and Chaman posts 24 hours a day, for six days per week. As per the notification, the decision was taken at a meeting of the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC).
The border was shut on March 27 as a measure to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. A decision was later taken to open the border for three days a week to facilitate cross border trade. All those crossing the border must adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOPs).
There will be no limit on the number of trucks that can cross the border on open days as long as they following the currently laid down procedures, as well as those in Afghan Bilateral Trade and Afghan Transit Trade.
The decision has been welcomed by the business community, calling it an essential step in the promotion of trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Earlier, the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry had urged the government to open the Pak-Afghan border for speedy clearance of goods trucks and containers and to remove issues to bilateral trade to boost the economy and remove unrest among the people of both countries.
The bilateral trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan is carried out through trucks. Torkhem and Chaman borders both serve as the entry and exit points for goods between the two adjoining countries.
As per statistics, Pakistan imports goods worth almost $400 million from its neighboring country annually. On the other hand, Afghanistan is one of the major export destinations for Pakistan, with annual exports between $1.4 billion to $2.3 billion. The trade volume between the two countries has shrunk in recent years.