Islamabad, Sep 18 (IANS) Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday formally inaugurated the Pakistan-Afghanistan Torkham border crossing which will be operational round-the-clock with the aim to enhance trade between the two countries and to facilitate ease of business.
The border crossing was opened round-the-clock earlier this month on a trial basis.
Torkham — one of the 18 border crossings between the two countries that connects Pakistan’s Khyber district with Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province — now stays open 24 hours for cross-border movement for the first time in recent history.
Previously, the Torkham crossing remained operational for 12 hours only, which used to lead to a night-long wait for the truckers on either side of the frontier. Apart from truckers, patients from bordering Afghan provinces too had to suffer in case of an emergency due to border closure during the night.
Khan was accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan as he inaugurated the Integrated Transit Trade Management System on Wednesday. He was also given a briefing on the border terminal.
Addressing a press conference on the occasion, Khan said the round-the-clock opening of the border crossing will facilitate trade in the region.
“I consider this to be a very historic day,” the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief said, noting that trade with Afghanistan had jumped by 50 per cent during the trial of the 24/7 border opening.
He said the region will be transformed as soon as peace is established in Afghanistan and trade activities will reach as far as Central Asia.
“The lives of people in this region will be changed,” he said, adding that Peshawar will become a regional hub of business activities which will generate employment opportunities.
Khan also inaugurated the Pak-Afghan Friendship Hospital at Torkham. According to Radio Pakistan, Afghan patients arriving in Pakistan via the crossing point will be provided medical facilities in the hospital.