Decision on opening of Torkham border to be taken in view in upcoming days: Pak Foreign Office

Islamabad [Pakistan], September 15 (ANI): Amid discussions on Torkham border, Foreign Office of Pakistan on Thursday said that the “border” was temporary and a decision on reopening it would be taken in the upcoming days, reported Dawn.

The Pakistan-Afghanistan Torkham border was closed on September 6 after two people, including a Frontier Corps (FC) official were injured in a fire exchange between Pakistan and Afghan border forces.

However, Pakistan officials blames the Afghanistan forces for initiating the midday firefight.

The gun battle lasted for around two hears and came after the Afghan authorities started bulding a checkpoint on their side in a prohibited area, close to the main border crossing, Dawn reported.

Although, the Afghan authorities already had a checkpoint, named as the Larrem Post. But, they started building another post over a small hill without discussing it with the Pakistani officials.

However, Afghanistan and Pakistani border security officials also held a meeting on September to reach an agreement over the reopening of the border remained inconclusive.

Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch said that Pakistan had been implementing the Afghanistan and Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement signed in 2020 in good faith.

“We have facilitated our landlocked neighbour in their access to the rest of the world in terms of trade and we will continue to do so,” she said. “Our major concern is that sometimes the exports that are meant for Afghanistan are diverted back to Pakistan and the customs duties and taxes are not paid as they should be. So, there are certain concerns of our customs authorities that people are misusing the bilateral provisions that allow fortrade with Afghanistan,” Baloch added.

Earlier, several political activists, transporters, traders, customs clearing agent, labourers and representatives of local organisations staged a protest against the closure of the Torkham border, according to Dawn.

Moreover, Pakistan government accused the Taliban-led Afghanistan government of misusing the Pakistan-Afghanistan transit trade agreement, The Express Tribune reported on Thursday.

They termed the closure of Torkham border an economic murder of the people affiliated with bilateral trade and other manual jobs.

According to Dawn, the protesters also warned that an indefinite protest would be staged at the Zero Point if the border crossing was not reopened within two days.

Torkham border, a crucial border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan, remained blocked for the eighth day on Thursday, as discussions between the two parties remained stalled, stranding commercial convoys and travellers, according to ARY News.

Hundreds of vehicles carrying crucial products have been trapped on both sides since the Torkham border crossing – one of the two main crossings between the neighbouring nations- was closed down following a dispute.

Citing sources, ARY News reported that a discussion was held between Pakistani and Afghan authorities regarding the closing of the Torkham border.However, sources said that talks between the two parties remained stalled.

The latest stalemate arose as Taliban soldiers began erecting a new security station near the Torkham border, which Pakistan regards as a breach of mutual accords, according to ARY News. (ANI)

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