LANDI KOTAL: Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurated 24/7 Torkham Terminal at Pak-Afghan border on Wednesday.
The terminal will serve round the clock, seven days a week. Torkham border in Khyber District has been open twenty-four hours on trial basis since 2nd of this month. The Project has been completed at a cost of 16 billion rupees.
Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Imran Khan said it is historic day for promoting trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Describing the current deadlock in Taliban-US dialogue as “unfortunate”, Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday said Pakistan would make every possible effort for the resumption of negotiations as peace in the region was also in the interest of Pakistan.
“If the Taliban-US talks do not move ahead, it will be a tragedy and I will insist on [resumption of dialogue] during the meeting with US President Donald Trump on [upcoming] Monday,” Imran Khan told a press conference here after inaugurating the new round-the-clock operational Torkhum Terminal.
He said since the people of Afghanistan were facing difficulties for the last over 40 years, Pakistan would push for the resumption of peace talks.
The prime minister recalled his meetings with the leaders of Central Asian states, including Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, during his visit to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, for attending the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) Summit in June, who he said were keen to have trade links with Pakistan.
Peace in Afghanistan would also help bring peace and economic development in the whole region, he said, adding the opening of Torkhum Terminal would help push bilateral trade with the neighbouring country and create job opportunities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which was badly hit by the war on terror.
The prime minister said since peace and peaceful coexistence were part of his party’s manifesto, his government tried to have good relations with the neighbours, including Afghanistan and engaged President Ashraf Ghani for confidence building.
To a question, Imran Khan said he planned to have a meeting with a Taliban delegation only after the success of Taliban-US dialogue and the signing of a deal, to bring the Afghan government and Taliban closer.
The prime minister announced dispensation of Rs 150 billion for the development and uplift of tribal areas. The generous development package, he said, was unprecedented in the last four decades and was being given at a time when the country itself was facing financial constraints.
To a question regarding the AGN Kazi formula for implementation of net hydel profit for KP, Imran Khan said the matter was currently under consideration. On the recent situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir, he said Pakistan would not hold any dialogue with India till the curfew was not lifted in the valley. He vowed that he would forcefully present the case of Kashmiris at the upcoming United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session in New York. “I promise to fight for Kashmir in a way it had never been done before.”
Imran Khan warned those intending to cross border from Pakistan to India in an attempt to ‘wage a Jihad in Kashmir’ as it would be an act of extreme enmity towards the Kashmiris.
“Anyone who thinks that he will cross the border to join the Kashmiris (fighting for their right) is a big enemy of them and Pakistan,” he said.
Any such move on the part of individuals, he said, would help India exploit the situation, which would term it cross-border infiltration.
“Don’t give India an excuse to cover its human right violations in Kashmir. This can make life more difficult for the Kashmiris, who are already suffering at the hands of 0.9 million violent and oppressive Indian troops,” he said.
The prime minister strongly condemned the recent unpleasant incident of attack at a Hindu temple in Sindh, terming it a conspiracy and an act of sabotage before his address to the UNGA.
He said Pakistan’s constitution fully guaranteed equal rights to all, including minorities belonging to any faith. The prime minister categorically rejected any concession for the jailed political leaders who had plundered the national wealth, saying their accountability was a must to put the country back on right track.
The looters had incurred a heavy loss of Rs 24 trillion to the national exchequer which resulted in fiscal and trade deficits, besides devaluation of the currency, he added.
He said development of tribal districts of erstwhile Fata was top most priority of the government and added it was spending about Rs150 billion on different development projects for speedy uplift and improving socio-economic conditions of tribal people of erstwhile Fata.
He said opening of Torkham crossing terminal was a historic initiative that would help promote trade and investment in tribal districts.