PESHAWAR: Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated the Transit Trade Management System at the Torkham Border today. The system aims to keep the border open 24 hours for trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The ceremony, held at the Torkham Border Zero Point, was attended by Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Shah Farman. The prime minister also inaugurated the Pak-Afghan friendship hospital to provide healthcare facilities to the people of the area and traders.
Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that it was a historic day in trade relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan, adding that the project would change people’s destiny and would promote trade in the region.
“The lives of people in this region will be changed,” said the prime minister. He added, “Peshawar will become a regional hub of business activities which will generate employment opportunities.”
Prime Minister Imran Khan further said that Central Asian countries are interested in trade with Pakistan. He expressed hope that round-the-clock opening of the border will increase trade activities with Central Asia via Afghanistan.
The prime minister said that the area would change for the better and would be developed because of the opening of the border.
The premier also stated that during his visit to the Central Asian countries, he saw that those countries wanted to trade with Pakistan.
“I consider this to be a very historic day,” he said. Trade with Afghanistan had jumped by 50 per cent during the trial of the 24/7 border opening alone.
Extraordinary security arrangements were made before the prime minister’s visit to Torkham. A heavy contingent of security forces were deployed and mobile phone signals were blocked to avoid any unpleasant situation.
On January 29, prime minister Imran Khan had issued directions to take steps to open the Torkham Border within six months to promote bilateral trade and people-to-people contacts. This announcement by the premier was welcomed by people on both sides of the border, particularly the traders.
The National Logistics Cell (NLC), in coordination with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has completed arrangements for the round-the-clock, trans-border trade terminal.
The NLC said that the Torkham border terminal had brought about a paradigm shift in regulating two-way movement of passengers and cargo and had helped curb the cross-border movement of miscreants, illegal trade, narcotics trafficking as well as backward flow of transit trade goods to Pakistan.
According to the NLC, the border terminal has generated significant economic activities in the area which is largely benefiting the local Khuga Khel Shinwari tribe.