Pakistan

PM Nawaz orders immediate re-opening of Pak-Afghan border

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has ordered immediate re-opening of Pak-Afghan border, describing his decision taken as a ‘goodwill gesture’, ARY News reported.

According to sources, PM Sharif said the two neighbouring countries enjoy centuries-old cultural and historical ties

We will continue cooperation with the Afghan government in eliminating terrorism, he added.

The premier was of the view that the prolonged closure of borders was against the interest of people and economy.

“A durable peace in Afghanistan is essential for peace and stability in the region,” Nawaz maintained.

 

Pak-Afghan border crossings at Torkham and Chaman were closed following the suicide attack at shrine of Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sindh’s city Sehwan which killed at least 81 people and injured dozens of others.

The two nations are divided by the “Durand Line”, a 2,400-kilometre (1,500-mile) frontier drawn by the British in 1896 and disputed by Kabul, which does not officially recognise it as an international border.

Torkham and Chaman were briefly opened on March 7-8 by Pakistan to allow Pakistani and Afghan citizens who had valid travel documents to return home.

AFP adds: Tensions along the frontier have been simmering for months, after hundreds of thousands of Afghan refugees in Pakistan were repatriated last year, with Human Rights Watch accusing Islamabad of coercion, threats and abuse.

Pakistani attempts to control the previously open border and implement customs duties have also sparked complaints from traders used to crossing with impunity. The Pakistani government estimates that undocumented trade on the border exceeds $2.5 billion annually.

 

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