Pakistan customs agents down tools at Torkham over ‘poor facilities’
Pakistan clearing agents at Torkham border embarked on a strike on Monday in protest against the lack of facilities at the border crossing – bringing a halt to the export of Pakistani goods to Afghanistan.
The protesters told Pakistani media the strike would continue until the authorities met their all demands.
According to Dawn News, #Torkham_Customs_Clearing_Agents president Hazrat Umar said they had long called for the border to be open 24 hours a day in order to speed up clearance process and for decent facilities in which to check goods crossing the border from both countries.
#Umar also said Pakistan’s government had failed to deliver on promises of improved internet and electricity services – which were needed to clear goods through customs.
He said most of the customs clearing agents did not have electricity in their offices, and the networked #internet-based_system was extremely slow.
Sources meanwhile told Dawn News that the strike has also affected the import of fresh fruits and other items from Afghanistan and hundreds of vehicles loaded with goods remained stranded on both sides of the border.
Rejecting the official claim of a 30 percent increase in exports to Afghanistan via Torkham border, the local clearing agents insist that the overall number of loaded trucks and containers had dropped to only 100 a day compared to 600 to 800 a day in the past, Dawn News reported.
This comes after Pakistan announced in September last year that it would keep the Torkham #border_crossing open 24 hours a day so as to boost trade with Afghanistan.