LANDIKOTAL: Senior military and civil administration officials led by Corps Commander Peshawar on Tuesday visited the Torkham border with Afghanistan and met Afghan officials besides taking stock of the bilateral trade and the facilities available there, official sources said.
The visiting officials included Corps Commander Peshawar Lieutenant General Nazir Ahmad Butt, Inspector General of Frontier Corps (IGFC) (North) Major General Muhammad Wasim Ashraf, Additional Chief Secretary Fata Sikandar Qayyum and Commissioner Peshawar Shahab Ali Shah. They inspected various compounds at the border and sought information about the trade and travel facilities provided at Torkham.
The Corps Commander and other Pakistani officials exchanged greetings with the Afghan border authorities and discussed the border situation. The sources said Lt Gen Nazir Ahmad Butt presented flowers to the Afghan border officials and told them that Pakistan wanted friendly relations with Afghanistan. He remarked that they considered the Afghans as their brothers and sisters and wished them well. The Afghan officials were quoted as saying that border security was their joint duty so that the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan could be protected. They extended their hands of cooperation to Pakistan.
An official meeting was also organized and attended by the Corps Commander, IGFC, ACS Fata, Commissioner Peshawar and Khyber Agency’s Political Agent Islam Zeb. The sources said the participants discussed various Torkham border-related issues and decided to get these resolved on a priority basis.
The sources added that one of the objectives of the meeting was to address the Customs clearing agents’ problems. The sources said that four conditions enforced by the Customs Department were withdrawn following the meeting. These included the production of quality certificate for fresh fruits and vegetables transportation, known as quarantine certificate.
Meanwhile, Commissioner Peshawar, Shahab Ali Shah said the aim of their visit to Torkham was to expand trade with Afghanistan and Central Asian countries via Torkham. He added that in the coming days more steps would be taken to facilitate traders and also passengers coming from Afghanistan.