BEIJING: A significant number of Pakistanis exited via the Khunjerab Pass in Tashikurgan Tajik Autonomous County, located in Kashgar, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, last week.
According to a report by China Daily on Wednesday, on November 6, hundreds of Pakistani passengers formed queues to undergo customs clearance, carrying packages laden with Chinese goods.
Saifullah Baig, a seasoned Pakistani businessman with three decades of travel through the pass, selling Pakistani handicrafts in China while bringing Chinese clothes and shoes to Pakistan. He commutes between the two countries approximately 10 times annually.
Commending the immigration inspection and customs clearance services, Baig remarked, “The staff members work till 3:00 a.m. to help us.” Despite the increase in daily travelers from 20-40 to two to three hundred, the efficiency of the process remains remarkably high, taking him about 10 minutes to complete.
Expressing the amicable relationship between China and Pakistan, Baig stated, “China is very friendly to Pakistanis doing business here. China is the best friend of Pakistan. We are neighbors and family.” He disclosed an annual income of about 800,000 yuan ($109,000).
Significance of Khunjerab Pass for Trade
Ismail Shah, a Ph.D. student from Wuhan, Hubei province, chose the Khunjerab Pass route to return home due to its proximity, taking approximately six hours to reach his hometown. He highlighted the route’s convenience and cost-effectiveness, emphasizing that it costs about 1,500 yuan, while an airplane ticket would be double the price.
At the outdoor waiting area, many Pakistanis board buses bound for Sust in Pakistan, with the ticket priced at 225 yuan.
The Khunjerab Pass, inaugurated in 1982, stands as the sole land port connecting China and Pakistan, serving as a crucial gateway for people-to-people exchanges.
Since the resumption of passenger transport clearance on April 3, there has been a notable increase in the inflow and outflow of passengers, with the number exceeding 40,000 by November 3, marking a 63 percent increase compared to the same period in 2019, according to data from the Khunjerab immigration inspection station.