PESHAWAR: The local tribesmen have ended their protests after they were assured by the authorities that the Torkham border crossing would now be open for general public.
The people were protesting against the crossing point’s closure for pedestrians from the last one week, which has negatively affected trade activities on the border route.
The protestors said that they were doing legitimate business through Torkham crossing point and the weaker sections of the society were engaged in earning a living for their children, therefore, they will not tolerate the closer of the border for local population. The protestors said that it is the responsibility of the state and government to provide relief to the citizens, provide employment opportunities, instead of snatching the already available jobs.
Local journalist Jibran Shinwari told Pakistan Today that the closure of the border not only makes it difficult for ordinary people crossing the border, but also severely affects the livelihoods of people on both sides of the line. Shinwari added that the volume of trade has been also reduced due to untimely clearance and other technical issues and if both the governments did not take this issue seriously, the traders will also face the loss of billions of rupees.
Local elders said that a large portion, as part of their business, cross the border line every day. Most of the people are also employed as daily wagers, but due to the ban on the pedestrian traffic for the past several months, it has several affected them to earn their living. After a weeklong protest, the border management has assured the protesters that the border will be fully opened in two weeks and that the government will soon announce the opening of the border to the public for seven days a week.
Yesterday, local leader Malik Darya Khan Afridi, MPA Shafiq Sher Afridi, Torkham Border Trade Union President Farman Shinwari and other leaders held talks with security forces officials at Torkham Border Zero Point. During the meeting, the agreed to keep the border open for pedestrians, after which the protest sit-in at Torkham border was ended peacefully. Darya Khan said that he will stand by his people in every hour of need and will continue to support them in all their legitimate demands. He said that it is the rights of local people to have free access to cross the border crossing to earn their living.
He also said that he was grateful to the officials of civil administration and security forces for their cooperation in accepting the legitimate demands after successful negotiations and now the Torkham border will be open for Pak-Afghan citizens for three days weeks and after some time, will be open seven days a week.
The Torkham border is currently open for pedestrian traffic only one day a week due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has severely affected the livelihoods of people on both sides of the border. Also, people coming from Afghanistan for medical treatment have to wait for days to cross the border and reach hospitals in Peshawar.
Farman Shinwari said that if the decision taken in the meeting was not implemented, our peaceful protest would continue and the Pak-Afghan highway would once against be closed.