Pakistan reopens key Afghan trade route for trial run: official



Pakistan on Friday reopened an important border crossing with Afghanistan after nearly three years in a bid to boost trade between the two countries, officials said.

The Ghulam Khan border, the third major crossing point with Afghanistan in North Waziristan tribal region, was closed in June 2014 after the security forces launched a major operation against the Pakistani Taliban and foreign militants in North Waziristan.

An official in the region told Xinhua by the phone that the border was reopened for trial run of the new system equipped with bio-metric identification system.

Local traders welcomed reopening of the border and hoped that the move will increase cross-border activities in the region and also across the country.

The reopening was earlier planned on March 7, but was postponed to ensure more facilities for the traders and cross-border movement of the people.

Pakistan had introduced passport and visa system for those entering Pakistan in 2016 via Torkham, the biggest crossing between the two countries. Officials say same system will be introduced at Chaman, the second largest point, and other notified crossings.

Four trucks, carrying mostly cement, entered Afghanistan from the Pakistani side through the re-opened crossing.

Officials and traders gathered at the border point to see off the trucks, a correspondent in the area told Xinhua by the phone.

Pakistani officials had informed the Afghan authorities and traders as well as Pakistani traders in North Waziristan for the trial run of the border reopening.

Officials say the Ghulam Khan border point, which will have modern facilities, could become the biggest trade route as containers bringing Afghan transit goods from Karachi port would use this crossing instead of Torkham.

Pakistan and Afghanistan have a transit agreement, which was signed in 1960s and revised in 2010, to allow landlocked Afghanistan imports through Karachi port.