ISLAMABAD: Responding to Afghanistan Government’s special request, and based on humanitarian considerations, Government of Pakistan has decided to facilitate movement of cargo trucks and containers to cross-over into Afghanistan through Torkham and Chaman border crossing points thrice a week (on Monday, Wednesday and Friday) from 10 April 2020 onwards.

This step is being taken following consultations and coordination between both sides as per agreed upon protocols.

As a neighbour and in view of fraternal relations, Pakistan remains in abiding solidarity with the people of Afghanistan, particularly at this time of global pandemic.

Earlier, Pak-Afg Transit Implementation Committee at Torkham discussed following three options in detail:

  1. Exchange of Drivers at Zero Point (Afghan Preferable Option as per the mechanism): This option include 100 Afghani Drivers who are already health certified from Afghan Department of Health, listed by Transport, guaranteed by ACCI. These driver shall receive the trucks at Zero point, the truck will be sprayed at zero point by public health personnel on ground and offload the goods out of the containers in Bandarwali (900m in distance from Zero Point) and deliver back the truck at zero point to Pakistani Driver in approximately 2-4hrs.

Concerns on this option from Pakistani end:

  1. The Pakistan transport union representative are not willing to hand over their loaded trucks to Afghani Drivers.
  2. More exposure to Corona Threat.

iii. This option may not be feasible practically.

  1. Exchange of container from one truck to another at Zero Point (Pakistan preferable option):

This option was proposed by Pakistan side. The containers would be exchanged from one truck to another at Zero Point by lifting it with a Crane which shall be provided by Pakistani and will be charged to private sector.

Concerns of Afghan Side:

  1. Limited space at zero point
  2. Time consuming
  • We may process maximum 12 trucks a day
  1. It requires heavy duty crane
  2. Afghan needs to pay additional transport cost while returning empty containers to Karachi port
  3. Offloading of Goods at Bandarwali by Pakistani Drivers (preferable option from Afghan Side):

Pakistani Drivers will bring the trucks to Bandarwali, the driver would be locked and fully quarantined in the truck cabin and afghan labor/loaders offload the goods from containers within span time of (2-4 hours) and Empty Truck would leave back to Pakistan.

Concerns of Pakistani Side:

  1. Risk of Corona for driver
  2. The offloading of truck might take more time

iii. May be difficult for the driver to stick in the seat for longer period because of basic human needs

It was concluded that Pakistan Implementation Committee will review the option of Offloading Goods at Bandarwali by Pakistani Drivers and Afghani Side need to review the option of Exchanging Containers from One Truck to Another at Zero Point and come up with the decision from their technical and higher authorities by tomorrow at 3pm afghan time and 3:30pm Pakistan time. It was also decided that PAK implementation committee will visit afghan sites and Afghan Implementation Committee will visit Pakistan site for minimizing spread of Corona Virus and mutual cooperation.

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