Pak-Afghan trade suspends at Torkham on 4th consecutive day

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Nasib Shah Shinwari

LANDIKOTAL: The token strike of all custom clearance agents Torkham continued on the fourth consecutive day which caused the hundreds of loaded trucks with import and export goods stranded on the both side of Pak Afghan border Torkham on Sunday.

According to the custom clearance agents Torkham president Zarqeeb Shinwari they hold several meetings with the custom house department officials to resolve issues of the clearance agents pertaining to the import and export goods clearance at Torkham but they have failed to resolve these issues.
Before launching the token strike, Zarqeeb Shinwari, the president of all Torkham custom clearance agents association, talking to a joint meeting of custom clearance agents, custom house department officials and the local administration said that the custom department has implemented the WEBOC (web based one customs), the online import and export goods declaration process but the custom house authorities have not provided fast internet and electricity at Torkham.
He said that lack of fast internet facility, expert staff at Weboc system and the unavailability of electricity at Torkham has created problems for agents to quickly carry out the online declaration process of import and export goods.
The custom department officials have failed to appoint more staff at Weboc system at Torkham, thus they have also not provided fast internet at Torkham which compelled the clearance agents to launch token strike from last four days.
Talking local media men at Torkham, a truck driver Zameer said that his truck was loaded with fresh fruits and was on the way from Peshawar to Kabul when stuck due to the token strike of the clearance agents.
The loaded fresh fruits in my truck would soon get rotten if the clearance agents did not end their token strike. The driver stated and added that the token strike were causing more financial loss to both transporters and the traders of both countries.
Talking local media persons Zarqeeb Shinwari, the president of all Torkham custom clearance agents said that the traders and agents at Torkham were facing various issues but the custom department officials were not serious to resolve their issues which was causing a big loss to Pakistan economy.
The all Torkham custom clearance agents association representatives have issued a list of demands which explains that that Weboc system was unacceptable unless the availability of electricity, fast internet and the deployment of extra staff at custom house Torkham.
The list also mentions that Fumigation decision had already taken back by the core commander and we(the custom clearance agents) are also rejecting it because it is illegal on zero point.
The agents have also demanded in the list that when the custom department declared the truck clear then there was no need that the other departments search the vehilces or take the vehicles into their custody.
Some more demands were also written in the list
The custom department should issue a border pass to all custom clearance agents at Torkham to facilitate them that they could cross via Torkham border into Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Permission should be granted to trucks laden with mix goods like it has granted at Ghulam Khan and Kharlachi crossing points.
More than 200 contravention cases at transaction section should be ended as these cases are illegal.
More staff should be deployed at custom house to speed up the import and export clearance process at Torkham.
The clearance agents will not be responsible before import clearance and after export clearance.
One time examination of each truck.
Export module should be made like import module and the driver and truck entry should also be ended.
Meanwhile it has been observed that the local laborers, shopkeepers, drivers and hotel owners at Torkham had suffered a lot due to the suspension of trade activities between Pakistan and Afghanistan and demanded the custom department officials to settle down issues with custom clearance agents that their daily business could not be suffered more and they could earn livelihood for their family.

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