Businessmen from Pakistan and Afghanistan have welcomed the resumption of bilateral trade between the two brotherly neighbouring countries after a hiatus of almost nine days. In a joint press statement issued here on Friday, Director Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI), Zia-ul-Haq Sarhadi and Co-Chairman PAJCCI, Khan Jan Alkozai highly hailed the re-opening of trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan. It merits to mention here that the Torkhem border was closed on 6th September in the wake of a dispute over construction near the border that also led to cross-firing between the two forces. Later, the Pakistani authorities completely closed the border for all kinds of crossings. The nine-day impasse caused the lining up of thousands of goods-laden trucks on both sides of the divide, destroying perishable goods like fresh fruits, vegetables, poultry, meat, juices etc. On Friday (September 15) morning after a successful round of dialogue between the Pakistani and Afghan authorities, the Torkham Border was reopened for passage of all kinds of traffic. “It’s good news for the business community that the border has been opened and trade resumed between the two countries,” observed both Zia Sarhadi and Khan Jan Alkozai. The trade route between Pakistan and Afghanistan is centuries old and will keep on going for an indefinite period, benefitting hundreds of thousands of people in both countries, they observed. The PAJCCI office bearers stressed the need that trade should not be stopped in the wake of any dispute between the two countries. Zia Sarhadi said the recent closure of the border has inflicted a loss of around three million US dollars on businessmen of both countries due to the rotting of perishable goods. The businessmen from Pakistan and Afghanistan were of the opinion that the promotion of commercial activities is a serious need of both countries and will promote trade at the regional level, creating livelihood for a large number of people. They also urged the quarters concerned to intensify checking procedures instead of stopping trade over reports of misuse of transit trade facilities. The business community, they continued, is preparing for full cooperation with concerned departments in both Pakistan and Afghanistan for proper security checking and curbing of smuggling. Continuation of trade from Torkhem will allow Pakistan to expand the reach of its goods to markets of Central Asian Republics and even to some European countries. Similarly, they went on to say, that the recent initiative of allowing passage of Afghanistan-bound China shipment through Torkhem under the UN’s Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR) Convention is a new opening and will bring a lot of business for both Pakistan and Afghanistan. PAJCCI office bearers expressed the hope that thousands of stranded trucks at Torkhem borders will reach to their destinations within three to four days after the resumption of trade.