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QUETTA: Pakistan will open its border with Afghanistan at Chaman and Torkham on Monday for four days.
Official sources said here on Saturday that Pakistan had decided to open the border on a request of the Afghan government to allow its nationals stranded at Chaman and Torkham borders.
“In view of the request of the Afghan government Pakistan has decided to open the border at both entry points from April 6 to 9,” the sources said, adding that hundreds of Pakistanis were also stuck up in Spin Boldak and the other side of Torkham due to closure of the border as a precautionary measure taken to contain the deadly coronavirus from spreading.
The foreign ministry said in a press statement that at the special request of the government of Afghanistan, Pakistan has decided on humanitarian grounds to allow Afghan nationals to go back to their country.
The ministry said: “The Torkham and Chaman land border crossings will be opened for a specific period from April 6 to 9 to facilitate Afghan nationals.”
The government has decided that the Pakistanis who will return from Afghanistan would be kept in a quarantine centre established near the Pak-Iran border in Chaman. The Afghan government has also put Afghan citizens in a quarantine centre in the border town of Spin Boldak.
The Provincial Disaster Management Authority has set up a quarantine village in tents in Killi Faizo close to the border in Chaman.
“We have a capacity to accommodate up to 900 people in quarantine at a time,” Zakaullah Durani, a senior official of the Chaman administration, told Dawn, adding that every tent had an attached washroom. He said that the people returning from Afghanistan would be provided food and other facilities during their stay in quarantine.
Earlier, a flag meeting of Pakistani and Afghan border authorities held on Friday at the friendship gate had decided to open the border for resuming trade between both the countries which had been suspended over one month ago.
In the meeting, Pakistan was represented by Colonel Rashid Siddiq, Commandant, Chaman Scouts, a wing of Frontier Corps, and Colonel Mohammad Sharif of the Afghan border force represented his country.
Traders’ leaders from both sides also attended the meeting.
The meeting decided that in the first phase the border should open from Sunday allowing people from both sides to return to their countries and trade activities should be resumed in the second phase.
Official sources said that in a late night development, the federal government withheld the decisions of the flag meeting till further orders.
Published in Dawn, April 6th, 2020
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