Pak-China Trade: Khunjerab Pass Resumes Passenger Clearance

Wed Apr 05 2023
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ISLAMABAD: The Khunjerab Pass, a major land port on the Pak-China border in northwest Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, resumed passenger customs clearance, local officials confirmed on Wednesday.


The Pass connecting Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) with China’s region officially restored the entry and exit of passengers this week after a closure of 3 years in the wake of Covid-19 restrictions. The port officials on the Chinese side of the Pass were instructed to take all necessary steps regarding the Covid-19 pandemic before the beginning of the arrival of goods from Pakistan. Likewise, Pakistani border authorities were also instructed to take all steps regarding the pandemic to ensure the containment of the virus.


Due to cold weather conditions and lack of oxygen in the high altitude, the Khunjerab Pass generally opens from 1 April to 30 November every year. It remains closed from 1 December to 31 March of the following year. But to ensure the smooth customs clearance mechanism and Pakistan’s urgently needed other supplies, the traditional port was temporarily opened twice early this year.


Challenges on Khunjerab Pass


With challenges, including extremely cold weather, heavy snowfall, and lack of oxygen, the local customs officials worked around the clock to ensure the transportation of goods. This year, the last temporary opening lasted twelve days, between 30 January and 10 February, while the first port opening was between 19 to 29 January and this year.


According to the Foreign Affairs Office of Kashgar prefecture, the two openings facilitated 128 cross-border personnel visits, transportation of 328 vehicles’ passes, and over 6,000 tons of goods exported.


While commenting on the reopening of the Khunjerab pass, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Mao Ning said that China was ready to work with Pakistan to resume the opening, make the clearance mechanism more efficient, and further serve economic cooperation and personnel exchange between the two countries.


 She added that out of the friendship between the two nations, China temporarily reopened the port during the pandemic shutdown to help with the smooth passing of people from the Pakistani side and customs clearance of emergency supplies.

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