ISLAMABAD: Ending a four-year closure, Pakistan has formally reopened the Ghulam Khan pass, its third major trade route with Afghanistan, officials said on Thursday.
Pakistan had closed the Ghulam Khan border route in 2014 after the military launched its Zarbe Azb operation against the outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in North Waziristan, bordering Afghanistan.
“The route was opened in April on a trial basis, however from Wednesday it is formally opened for trade,” a political administration officer told Anadolu Agency on the phone on condition of anonymity, as he was not authorized to speak with the media.
The militants’ hideouts have been destroyed and now the area is completely secured, he added.
Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi along with Army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa traveled on Monday to North Waziristan agency and ordered the formal resumption of trade activities on the route.
The move came after the last month’s meeting between Abbasi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul to discuss various issues including bilateral trade falling almost in half from $2.7 billion to $1.4 billion over the last two years.
North Waziristan is one of Pakistan’s seven semi-autonomous tribal regions, one which has been a stronghold of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a consortium of several militant groups in the country, before the launch of the 2014 military offensive. Pakistan’s army claims that 95 percent of the area has been cleared of militants.