Following the closure of Chaman-Quetta highway in Pakistan, traders in Kandahar province say that trade issues should not be politicized and asked for the reopening of the route.
The highway was closed on Monday in reaction to Pakistan’s decision to halt movement from Spin Boldak because drivers did not have visas.
“The closure of this way will affect people’s lives. We ask the protestors to reopen the route,” said Abdul Ahad Sediqi, head of Kandahar’s dried fruit union.
“The apples of Wardak province and pomegranates of Kandahar and other fruits of Afghanistan are exported to Pakistan. Some dried fruits are also exported to India and other countries,” said Masoud Ahmad Rahat, a trader in Kandahar.
In the meantime, officials at the chamber of commerce and investment of Kandahar said that the disturbance of trade will affect people in both countries.
The officials urged that traders not be used in political games.
“We hope both the Islamic Emirate and Pakistan’s government negotiate the issue and a committee of trade be formed to talk to the protesters,” said Abdul Baqi Pana, deputy head of chamber of commerce and investment of Kandahar.
Since the start of the closure of Chaman-Quetta highway, around 300 fruit-laden trucks have been stranded in Chaman of Pakistan while a large number of pomegranate-loaded trucks are waiting in Spin Boldak to cross into Pakistan.
The fruits from both sides are at severe risk of spoiling if trucks are not allowed to cross.