Transporters Complain Of Corruption In Pakistan While Crossing Border

Trucks filled with cargo from Pakistan experience long delays and harassment by police and transport unions before they are able to cross into Afghanistan through the Torkham border terminal.

Several truckers said the route through Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province has become an obstacle course as recent government decisions have forced them to make a stop at the Akkakhel terminal in Bara, some 50 kilometres before Torkham.

Long haul truckers covering the 1,800-kilometre journey from the Karachi seaport to Kabul, often have to wait several days to weeks for the authorities before they are allowed to enter Afghanistan.

This comes a day after a driver from Nangarhar died after suffering injuries during a scuffle with other transporters and the transport union in Bara district. He had been waiting to cross the border for the past 10 days.

Afghan truckers say those who pay bribes get to go through while others have to keep waiting.

Members of the Frontier Customs Agent Group and Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry have asked Prime Minister Imran Khan to intervene.

Cross-border traders in the region have complained frequently to the Pakistan government for easing the process.
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Instead, the number of trucks that are allowed to enter has reduced drastically from 800 a day, earlier this year to 200.

Khyber district officials have denied the harassment and said the delays were due to the limitations placed on the number of vehicles allowed to enter under the new agreement with Afghan officials.

Meanwhile in Chaman, transporters are in the midst of a month-long sit-in protest and have blocked roads leading to the border town.

They are asking the government to declare the area a free trade zone since a majority of the local people depend on it for a livelihood.

Along with Afghan transit trade, NATO supply and all cross-border vehicular movement is suspended.
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Latest from Newsfeed; Wednesday, July 8 2020