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Economic Activities Return to North Waziristan After Resumption Of Transit Trade Through Ghulam Khan Crossing

PESHAWAR: Economic activities have resumed in North Waziristan after Afghanistan finally agreed to allow movement of transit goods through Ghulam Khan Terminal which was constructed by Pakistan in 2018.

Ghulam Khan, a town located along the Pak-Afghan border, is divided between the two countries.

In a recent development, the governor of Afghan province Khost visited the town to attend the customs clearance of 40 trucks carrying coal, thus reopening the cross-border movement through Ghulam Khan.

Till recently, the transit trade between Afghanistan and Pakistan was allowed through Torkham, Kharlachi (Kurram Agency) and Chaman only, but the opening of fourth trade terminal at Ghulam Khan will boost economic activities in the region.

The border crossing point at Ghulam Khan was a busy route for trade with Miranshah being a trading town; however, it was closed after 2014.

After the reopening, 40 to 50 trucks carrying different goods are crossing the border daily.

According to local traders, Pakistan mainly imports fruits and vegetables from Afghanistan, while cement, sugar and rice are the main exports.

The traders, however, lamented that up to Rs50,000 are being charged as tax on from each vehicle carrying different transit goods, at a time when the amount collected at Kharlachi is Rs24,000.

They cited another example of a truck transporting eggs, which would pay Rs4,000 at Kharlachi but Rs12,000 at Ghulam Khan.

Faiz Muhammad – the president of Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry – said bilateral trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan could reach $5 billion in two year if trade was allowed through the Ghulam Khan Terminal. And the amount would climb up to $30 billion if the route was used for trade with Central Asian countries, he added.

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He said in 2013, only cement was allowed to be exported through Ghulam Khan while it was open for every kind of transit trade in 2014; however, it remained closed after that.

It’s important to mention that the two MNAs from the Waziristan region – Ali Wazir and Mohsin Dawar – had arrested and sent to prison, after which Section 144 was imposed in the area which is affect free movement of people across the border.

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