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Chaman Border: Pakistan reopens southwestern border crossing with Afghanistan for routine traffic

Afghanistan-bound trucks pass through a valley while moving toward the Torkham border crossing in Torkham, Pakistan, June 18, 2016

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FILE - People cross the border coming from Afghanistan to Pakistan, at the border town of Chaman. Pakistan will reopen the Chaman border crossing for routine traffic on Sept. 1, 2016, after days of closure, officials said. Image source: VOA

Pakistan-Afghanistan will reopen a southwestern border crossing, for routine traffic on Thursday after days of closure, stranding thousands of travelers and trade convoys on both sides, officials said.

The Chaman border facility was closed about two weeks ago when Afghans staged an anti-Pakistan demonstration on their side and some angry protesters attacked the border gate and burned a Pakistani flag, according to officials in Islamabad.

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A spokesman for the paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC), which guards the Pakistan border, Wednesday cited “successful negotiations” between senior Pakistani and Afghan border authorities for agreeing to resume the traffic.

An official Pakistani statement said Afghan negotiators “condemned the August 18 incident” and promised to take preventive measures in future.

The two sides agreed to “pay due respect to each other testimonials” and hold a monthly flag meeting to address issues of mutual interest for ensuring a “peaceful environment.

Afghan and Pakistani traders said the border closure caused them millions of dollars in losses and urged both the governments to take steps to ensure uninterrupted movement in both directions.

There are four regular crossings between Afghanistan and Pakistan along their 2,600-kilometer frontier. But the Chaman and the northwestern Torkham border posts serve as the two main crossings for trade and travelers.

Afghanistan-bound trucks pass through a valley while moving toward the Torkham border crossing in Torkham, Pakistan, June 18, 2016.
Afghanistan-bound trucks pass through a valley while moving toward the Torkham border crossing in Torkham, Pakistan, June 18, 2016. Image source: VOA

Afghanistan-bound trucks pass through a valley while moving toward the Torkham border crossing in Torkham, Pakistan, June 18, 2016.

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An estimated 50,000 people, mostly Afghans, travel across the two facilities each day in addition to hundreds of trucks carrying trading goods to landlocked Afghanistan.

Construction of a new gate at Torkham by Pakistan recently prompted deadly clashes between Afghan and Pakistani border forces, suspending traffic there for days.

The border tensions stem from a deterioration in relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan in recent months over mutual allegations of supporting terrorist attacks on each other’s soil.

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Pakistan Occupied Kashmir Areas Feature in New Political Map Released by Government

In a gazette notification, the government also enumerated the territories in Leh district as: "Gilgit, Gilgit Wazarat, Chilas, Tribal territory

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Pakistan, Kashmir, Political
The Ladakh UT consists of two districts -- Kargil and Leh -- while the Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory comprises 20 districts. Pixabay

In the wake of the creation of separate Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, the government on Saturday released a new political map of the Indian Union, with 28 States and nine Union Territories (UTs). Pakistan.

The new map denotes the bifurcation of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and surprisingly includes three districts — Muzaffarabad, Punch and Mirpur — which are under Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).

Pakistan, Kashmir, Political
New Political Map of India. PIB

The Ladakh UT consists of two districts — Kargil and Leh — while the Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory comprises 20 districts.

In a gazette notification, the government also enumerated the territories in Leh district as: “Gilgit, Gilgit Wazarat, Chilas, Tribal territory and Leh and Ladakh, except the present territory of Kargil.”

Pakistan, Kashmir, Political
The new map denotes the bifurcation of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and surprisingly includes three districts — Muzaffarabad, Punch and Mirpur — which are under Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). Pixabay

The order was called the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Removal of Difficulties) Second Order, 2019.

The map of J&K UT comprises 20 districts, including Muzzarfarabad, Mirpur and the area of Poonch which are under PoK.

In 1947, the former Jammu and Kashmir state had 14 districts — Kathua, Jammu, Udhampur, Reasi, Anantnag, Baramulla, Poonch, Mirpur, Muzaffarabad, Leh and Ladakh, Gilgit, Gilgit Wazarat, Chilhas and Tribal Territory.

On the recommendation of the Parliament, President Ram Nath Kovind effectively abrogated Article 370 from the Indian Constitution and issued the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, in August.

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On October 31, J&K ceased to exist as a state and was officially bifurcated into two UTs — Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. (IANS)