Pak-Afghan trade surges as Torkham border crossing open round-the-clock

Trucks and other vehicles travel in the mountainous area near Torkham, close to the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, on March 21, 2017. (AFP/File)
Updated 12 October 2019

Pak-Afghan trade surges as Torkham border crossing open round-the-clock

  • The border crossing not only serves the two nations but also helps traders access Indian and Central Asian markets
  • Afghan businessmen say the service makes it possible for them to supply fruits and vegetables to foreign countries on time

KABUL/PESHAWAR: Afghanistan’s revenue from trade with Pakistan has substantially increased after the two neighbors inaugurated round-the-clock administrative operations at the Torkham border crossing last month, said officials in Kabul on Thursday.
Thousands of trucks have gone through the checkpoints at Torkham since the two countries introduced the 24-hour border facility.
The crossing point not only serves the two nations but also helps traders transport their goods to Indian and Central Asian markets.
“The 24-hour border facility has proved highly effective for the flow of trade and Afghanistan’s revenue,” Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the eastern Nangarhar province, told Arab News.
For years, Pakistan was the main trading partner of landlocked Afghanistan, though tensions between the two countries prompted President Ashraf Ghani’s administration to turn its attentions to Iran and Central Asian states as well.
Since assuming his country’s top political office, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan and President Ghani have tried to turn over a new leaf and make a fresh start.
The 24-hour Torkham border decision is emblematic of that, benefiting both Afghanistan and Pakistan in economic terms.
Despite the utility of the 24-hour border service, however, a local Pakistani newspaper recently quoted unnamed Afghan officials as saying that Torkham should return to its normal work hours.
The report was subsequently denied by Vice President of Nangarhar Chamber of Commerce Hajji Usman and Kiftan Bacha, an Afghan Customs Clearing Agent and businessman, who called it “baseless” while talking to Arab News.
“When you have easy exchange of goods and the custom gates are open 24/7, it’s always a welcome thing,” Tawfiq Dawari, deputy head of Afghanistan’s Chambers of Commerce, said. “It has had a huge impact on our national revenue and trade.”
Discussing the significance of Torkham border’s round-the-clock facility, Dawari added: “It is highly important for our imports and exports. We are in the middle of the fruit season, and we are not only exporting them to Pakistan but India as well.”


PML-N’s Maryam Sharif admitted to Services Hospital

Updated 23 October 2019

PML-N’s Maryam Sharif admitted to Services Hospital

  • Maryam went to the medical facility to see her father whose platelet count dropped to a drastically low level
  • The party’s information secretary in Punjab claims Maryam undergoing medical checkup herself

LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader, Maryam Sharif, was admitted to the Services Hospital after she met her ailing father at the same medical facility on Wednesday, confirmed Uzma Bokhari, PML-N’s information secretary in Punjab, while talking to Arab News.
“Maryam Nawaz Sharif’s condition is not well and she is undergoing a medical checkup,” Bokhari said. “She will stay at the hospital tonight.”
Maryam had gone to the medical facility to see her father who was shifted there on Monday on the request of his physician, Dr. Adnan Khan, after his platelet count dropped to an alarmingly low level.
Soon after he was shifted to the medical facility, Nawaz Sharif’s blood test was done to see if he was suffering from dengue, but the report was clear.
While his condition was said to have improved after transfusion of platelets, doctors could not diagnose the reason behind the problem.
His daughter, Maryam, was allowed to see her father at the hospital on Wednesday after her party sought special permission for that purpose from the Punjab Home Department.
While the local media initially claimed she was allowed to stay with Sharif for an hour, there was much speculation about the health of the country’s former prime minister after it turned out that she was going to stay at the medical facility for the night.
Reports also indicate that the hospital authorities have summoned specialists from Karachi and Islamabad to examine Nawaz Sharif and diagnose his medical condition.