Around 50,000 small and medium traders connected with the Pak-Afghan trade have lost their jobs at the Chaman border crossing due to the 18-day closure of the border.
Former president of Chaman Chamber of Commerce Jamaluddin Achakzai told The Express Tribune that the closure is costing local traders Rs100 million each day.
As a result of the closure, 1,450 Pakistani trucks — some loaded with dry fruits while others empty — are parked near the other side of the border.
Meanwhile, Pakistani trucks on this side of the border were also parked whereas the crew of these trucks have nowhere to go. “Some of them don’t even have money for food and other basic essentials,” he added.
Haji Jalat Khan, another former president of the Chaman Chamber, called on the federal government to announce an immediate reopening of the border.
Muhammad Hashim, president of the Chaman Chamber of Commerce, and Nazar Jan Achakzai, the vice-president, said that the people of Chaman are deprived of basic education and health facilities. “Prime Minister Imran Khan should announce a special development package for Chaman as it is a gateway to Afghanistan and Central Asia,” he added.
Hashim pointed out that the only source of income for the people of Chaman is trade across the border. “If the federal government pays attention to Chaman city, billions of rupees of additional revenue can be generated,” he added.
He further said that the situation in the region has changed since the rise of the Taliban government in Afghanistan, which Pakistan needs to take full advantage of by adopting an effective strategy.
Yusuf Khan, who transports commercial goods to Afghanistan, said that due to the suspension of transportation, the drivers, cleaners and labourers have become unemployed.
He said that the drivers on the other side of the border are facing an even worst situation as they have no money for food. He urged the government to take immediate notice of the situation.
Hashim Rehman, a resident of Chaman, said that the livelihood of the people of Chaman is related to the opening of the border, adding that all traders, including labourers, were waiting for the border to reopen.
He further said that many people have temporarily moved to Karachi and Quetta to earn a living and will return when the border reopens.