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Khunjerab Pass reopened for Pakistan-China trade after three years

ISLAMABAD: After being closed for over three years because of the Covid-19 outbreak, the Khunjerab Pass, a crucial commercial route between Pakistan and China, has now reopened.

The pass, which links China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region with Gilgit-Baltistan, was shut down in 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Chinese port administrators have been told to take all necessary precautions to contain Covid-19 before the entry of products from Pakistan, according to official sources. Chinese authorities have communicated with Pakistani officials by letter regarding the reopening of the route for trade.

Similarly, to this, Pakistani border authorities have been told to take all necessary precautions in relation to Covid-19 to ensure the disease’s containment.

Every year, the Khunjerab Pass is typically open from April 1 to November 30 and closed from December 1 to March 31 due to the cold and low oxygen levels at such a high altitude.

However, the port was twice briefly opened in the early months of this year to facilitate the efficient customs processing of Pakistan’s desperately required supplies and other items.

The local customs have worked around the clock to assure the passage of merchandise despite challenges like extremely cold temperatures, severe snowfall, and a shortage of oxygen.

The initial port opening took place between January 19 and 20 of this year, while the most recent temporary opening was for 12 days between January 30 and February 10.

The two temporary openings made it easier for 328 transportation vehicles to pass, 128 cross-border personnel trips, and more than 6,000 tons of commodities to be exported.

Reopening the border crossing is anticipated to increase trade between the two nations.

The Khunjerab Pass has reopened, to the delight of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who noted that this will assist boost bilateral trade between Pakistan and China.

According to him, the route’ reopening removes a barrier that will hasten the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The prime minister hailed the event as a welcome opportunity to expand commerce with his “Iron Brother China” and reaffirmed his commitment to advancing the CPEC at a double-quick pace.

The former prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and the Chinese leadership, he continued, had offered the region and its citizens CPEC as a gift of growth and prosperity.

The premier also expressed his gratitude to the team members and pertinent officials from the two nations for the restoration of the trade and travel facilities.

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