Torkham border closure costs billions of rupees loss to national exchequer

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Nasib Shah Shinwari

Khyber Agency—The Pak Afghan border Torkham was remained closed on third day, as fourth round of talks between Pak and Afghan authorities failed to peacefully to settle down fencing issue, official sources said Thursday.
A round of talks started on Thursday when an Afghan delegation led by Afghan border police chief Zabihullah Shinwari hold negotiations with Pak security and civil authorities led by Assistant Political Agent Landiktoal Rahimullah Mehsud and Commandant Khyber Rifle Force Colonel Tariq Hafeez.
Rahimullah Mehsud said the Afghan officials requested to open the border but their demand was rejected until and unless the construction on fence is started. Meanwhile, closure of Torkham border has badly suffered the business of locals and it has been observed by the locals that a less number of travellers and customers were seen in Karkhano markets, Landikotal and Torkham bazaar and taxi stands near Afghanistan.
A hotel owner SelahudDin said mediamen that he has a hotel in Torkham and was not able to go there to earn livelihood for his family due to the border closure. He said he used to earn Rs.1500 per day but now a day he was worried how to afford his family expenses due to the closure of Torkham border. He demanded the officials of both countries to resolve the issue peacefully.
Another hotel owner Ashfaq complained the locals who were working at various hotels; offices and taxi stands have been badly affected from last three days. I has been learnt that many trucks loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables get rotten and according to a truck driver Ahmad the Torkham border closure was causing a big loss to the transporters of both countries.
Hundreds of Afghan citizens including aged women, men, children and trucks carrying goods to Afghanistan were seen parked on PeshawarTorkham high way which is causing billion rupees loss to national exchequer. Talking media men in Landikotal a family members of Gardez Afghanistan told Pakistan Observer they have brought their 60 years old Haji Thurab to Peshawar hospital who was kindey patient and now waiting to cross border.
Mir Ahmad Khan said their patient was in critical condition and the officials of both countries should resolve the border issue to reopen it. Another Afghan of Khugiano Ningarhar province Pakhtoon said this scribe they have also brought some patients of their family to Peshawar hospital and when they reached Landikotal they found the border was closed which doubled their miseries.
The afghan citizens thanked locals of Landikotal for their hospitality and said their love and respect with Afghans in this hard time will never be forgotten. Locals of Landikotal offered the Afghan citizens shelter and food at various places in Landikotal. Haji Qasteer the resident of Ningarhar told Landikotal journalists people of both countries were Muslims and having relations with each other.
He told no one could divide them. He demanded the officials of both countries to resolve the Torkham border issue.
He said hundreds of Afghan most of them were children and women have been trapped in Landikotal and surrounding areas.
The official sources said that a fourth round of talks between the officials of both countries failed and the border were still closed on the third day till filling this report.

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