Khunjerab Pass to reopen for trade on April 1
March 31, 2023 11:04 PM
Pakistan and China are set to resume two-side trade through the Khunjerab Pass, the only land route between the two countries, after almost three years of suspension due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The pass, which connects Pakistan’s Gilgit Baltistan region with China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, is scheduled to be fully operational from April 1, 2023.
The pass had been closed for trade activities after the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020. It was briefly reopened last year to allow one side trade i.e. imports from China only. The border remained closed despite a significant reduction in pandemic cases and the resumption of trade activities worldwide.
In January 2020, the government of Gilgit Baltistan stopped two shipping containers carrying goods from entering Pakistan through the Khunjerab Pass and requested the federal government to delay the reopening of the border crossing for trade as a precautionary measure. Later the Chinese side remained reluctant to open the border for trade after the pandemic spread in Pakistan.
However, with the recent decline in positivity rates, the relevant authorities green-light customs clearance, hoping to drive up cross-border trade and business in the post-Covid era.
Apart from the closure of the border due to Covid-19 related issues, the border usually remains open from April 1 to November 30 every year and remains closed from December 1 to March 31 due to harsh winter weather conditions and lack of oxygen at high altitudes.