Pakistan PM Imran Khan formally inaugurated the Torkham border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The border crossing will now be open 24 hours and should bolster relations between ‘frenemies’ Islamabad and Kabul.
Torkham connects Nangarhar province of Afghanistan with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan. It is the busiest port of entry between the two countries, serving as a major transporting, shipping, and receiving site.
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.
Addressing a press conference, PM Khan said the 24 Hours opening of the border crossing will facilitate trade in the region.
“I consider this to be a very historic day,” he said, noting that trade with Afghanistan had jumped by 50% during the trial of the 24/7 border opening alone.
Khan said the region will be transformed as soon as peace is established in Afghanistan and the trade activities will reach as far as Central Asia.
— PTI (@PTIofficial) September 18, 2019
“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.
Pakistan, for the first time, opened its Torkham border with Afghanistan round the clock earlier this month on a trial basis, to enhance bilateral trade and facilitate the movement of pedestrians across the border.
Earlier, the crossing remained operational for 12 hours only, which created disruption for truckers on either side and a difficult situation for patients that could not cross the border overnight. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani during his visit to Pakistan in June had requested Khan to ease trade between the two countries.