LANDI KOTAL: The transporters have threatened to go on strike if ‘illegal’ border tax at Torkham is not withdrawn till August 7.
Transit Goods Transporters Union President Mustaqil Afridi warned to observe a complete wheel jam strike suspending all supplies from Karachi to Afghanistan via Torkham. He alleged that private operators in the name of border agents were charging Rs1,500 from every vehicle whether entering Afghanistan or coming back to Pakistan while another Rs700 was taken by the Torkham Customs staff.
He said that the total amount of Rs2,200 taken from every vehicle was illegal as they were not issued any official receipt against the payments.
Afridi said that he along with his fellow transporters raised the issue with Customs officials at Karachi, Islamabad, Peshawar and Torkham and everywhere they were told that no such tax was ever imposed by the Customs authorities on Afghanistan-bound transporters.
He said that Customs officials at Torkham border even refused to recognise the border agents, who were fleecing transporters. He said that local political administration also expressed ignorance about the imposition of any such tax.
On the other hand, Customs officials at Torkham said that they had not permitted anyone to collect or impose border tax on vehicles taking trade goods to Afghanistan or coming back to Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Customs officials cleared three vehicles loaded with wheat flour after receipt of food letter from officials concerned. The three vehicles were not allowed to cross the border by the Customs officials as the drivers didn’t obtain proper food letters. The vehicles remained stranded at the border for three days.