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KP traders, transporters protest extortion at highway check posts

KP traders, transporters protest extortion at highway check posts

PESHAWAR: Traders and transporters associated with trade with Afghanistan have raised protest against extortion at highway check posts in various areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

All Pakistan Afghan Transport Owners Association President Muhammad Noor Ahmadzai said traders and transporters are being forced to illegally pay money at checkposts to be able to transport and trade goods with Afghanistan.

He said that in areas including Zangali, Karkhano, Zangli, Badaber Matni and Bara Road thousands of trucks carrying trading goods are stopped and not allowed to leave until they pay money at check posts. “They’re forced to pay thousands of rupees each day,” he said, adding that this practise should be stopped since it is illegal and negatively affects the Pak-Afghan trade.

He said that the government has opened the Torkham border, however despite its reopening traders are being made to pay up to Rs100,000 to be able to transport their goods to Afghanistan.

The transporters alleged that officers belonging to the Khyber district with the support of KP Police stop vehicles carrying trading goods to Afghanistan and illegally get them to pay Rs1,000 per truck.

The traders further alleged that authorities in the Khyber district seize trucks for months at a time and demand Rs30,000 to Rs50,000 to get them released.

They demanded Prime Minister Imran Khan and the interior minister to take prompt action against such activities which they said creates hurdles in Pakistan-Afghanistan trade.

They also appealed to the Afghan ambassador to Pakistan and consul general to intervene in the issue.

Last year, Prime Minister Imran Khan had taken notice of ‘corrupt practices’ at check posts established on major highways in the country and issued directives to relevant departments to reduce the number of security pickets.