China Temporarily Reopens Khunjerab Pass For Trader Facilitation

Web DeskJanuary 3, 2024
China Temporarily Reopens Khunjerab Pass For Trader Facilitation

The Chinese government has granted approval for the temporary reopening of the Khunjerab Pass, a crucial northern land route connecting Pakistan, scheduled to be in operation from January 2 to January 16. The primary objective of this decision is to facilitate traders engaged in cross-border activities.

Positioned at an impressive altitude of over 4,600 meters (15,000 feet) above sea level, the Khunjerab Pass holds the distinction of being the highest paved international border, establishing a vital link between Pakistan and China. Traditionally, this pass experiences an annual closure from November to March due to the harsh cold temperatures prevalent in the region.

Read more : Pakistan and China Enhance Karakoram Highway Upgrades

The pass, which connects Pakistan’s northern Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) semi-autonomous region with China’s Xinjiang, had recently reopened in April 2023 after being closed for nearly three years due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

During a visit to China in October of the preceding year, Pakistan’s Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar had expressed intentions to transform the Khunjerab Pass into an “all-weather” border. However, adverse weather conditions necessitated its closure starting from December 1 of the same year.

Mohammad Arshad Khan, GB Collector Customs, confirmed the agreement, noting the presence of border officials and representatives from the National Logistics Corporation (NLC) during the specified reopening period.

Khan clarified that within this timeframe, a limited number of TIR [Transports Internationaux Routiers] consignments and China’s stranded containers on the Pakistani side would be allowed to cross the border. TIR, an international customs transit system for road transport, streamlines border procedures, thereby reducing the administrative burden for customs authorities.

In a communication dated December 29 from the Chinese embassy in Pakistan, the details of the temporary reopening from January 2 to January 16 were explicitly outlined. The communication specified that only transportation vehicles, drivers, and cargo would be permitted to pass through the Khunjerab Pass during this designated period.

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