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No bus service between Peshawar, Jalalabad for a month

Pak Afghan BasLANDI KOTAL: The bus service between Peshawar and Jalalabad in Afghanis­tan via the Torkham border has been lying suspended for over a month as the Pakistan government has refused to give security clearance to three of the five transport companies operating the service.

The service was suspended on May 30 when the last date for Afghan nationals entering Pakistan without legal travel documents expired.

Haji Nasir Khan, the owner of the United Transport Company, told Dawn that though his company and the Asia Transport Company had been allowed to continue the bus service, the remaining three companies had been denied permission to do so.

He said that the Pakistani authorities had refused to issue security clearance to Afghanistan-based Pak Afghan Ettehad, Mustafa Yaran and Khabar Kamran companies in May.

No reason was cited for refusal of security clearance to the three companies, he said, adding that the remaining two, each having a fleet of seven buses and coaches, had been allowed to continue their operation.

The buses popularly known as Pak-Afghan Dosti Service would carry as many as 250 passengers on a daily basis.

The passengers were required to present at the Torkham border either their national identity cards or Afghan refugees cards for their identification.

Mr Khan said that the bus service was launched in 2006 and he and the owner of the Asia Transport Company had invested a huge amount in the business by establishing separate bus terminals, acquiring staff and buying new coaches and buses.

Mr Khan blamed the Afghanistan-based companies for suspension of the service as owners of the companies and other Afghan transporters were not allowing the Pakistani companies to continue the service.

“They have threatened our drivers and passengers and warned that our vehicles would be torched if we try to cross the border into Afghanistan,” he said. “Even the Afghan government is not taking any action against the transport companies despite repeated complaints.” -IBRAHIM SHINWARI, DN


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