Tuesday Mar 21, 2017

Pak-Afghan border reopens after 32 days

KHYBER AGENCY: The Pak-Afghan border was opened at the Prime Minister's (PM) behest on 7 AM Tuesday.

The goodwill gesture restored trade and other activities 32 days after the government ordered the border to be closed for an 'indefinite period.' 

Thousands of individuals and cargo vehicles crossed the border to enter the two countries through Torkham and Chaman early morning on Tuesday.

Travellers, transporters, and traders expressed their happiness at the government's decision. "The two countries should resolve matters through discussions, closing the borders is not the right way to find solutions," a trader said.  

The border remains closed in Kurram Agency's Borki, Kharlachi, Tiri Mingal, and Shaheedano Dand. The area's political administration stated that it is yet to receive written orders to open the border.

Authorities have not opened the border in North Waziristan's Ghulam Khan area and South Waziristan's Angor Adda, sources told Geo News.

PM Nawaz Sharif on Monday ordered that Pakistan-Afghanistan border should be re-opened immediately, Geo News reported.

In a statement, the premier said that recent incidents of terrorism in Pakistan have been traced back to anti-Pakistan elements in Afghanistan. However, he expressed hope that the Afghan government would take measures to address the reasons due to which the border was closed.


The PM said that Pakistan has reiterated time and again that lasting peace in Afghanistan is imperative for peace and security in Pakistan. Pakistan would continue to work with Afghanistan to eliminate the menace of terrorism from the two countries, said the PM.

Pakistan had sealed its border with Afghanistan for an 'indefinite period' owing to security concerns following the deadly suicide bombing at Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in Sindh last month, in which over 80 people lost their lives and over 250 were injured. The attack on the shrine in Sehwan city of Sindh was part of a deadly wave of terror attacks in the country, and the fifth blast in less than a week targeting innocent people.

However, earlier in March, Pakistan temporarily opened its border crossings at Torkham and Chaman to allow Afghan nationals stranded in Pakistan to return to their country.

Pakistani authorities have repeatedly voiced concerns over terrorist sanctuaries in Afghanistan, from where majority of the attacks during February were believed to be coordinated. Last month, Pakistani diplomatic officials summoned the Afghan deputy head of mission to the Foreign Office to convey their concerns over continuing attacks by terrorist outfit Jamaat-ul-Ahrar from its sanctuaries inside Afghanistan.