CHITRAL     -      As part of the federal government’s measures to improve bilateral relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the government on Tuesday notified reopening of Durah Pass also known as Salim Shah Pass, a major trade route between the two countries.

In a simple inaugural ceremony held here Custom Collector Ehsan Ali Shah inaugurated the reopening of the pass by cutting a ribbon where President Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sir Taj Ahmed Khan, Lt. Col Abid and Major Osman of Chitral Scout and officials of Custom Dry Port were also present.

Speaking on the occasion Ehsan Ali Shah said that the Durah pass would bring prosperity in the area due to trade activities between the two countries, adding, the reopening of Durah pass was a longstanding demand of people of Gobar valley of district Chitral.

Durah Pass, also known as Salim Pass had remained a major trade route between Chitral district of Pakistan and Badakhshan province of Afghanistan for more than a decade before its closure in 2006.

Speaking on the occasion President Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sir Taj Ahmed Khan said that the Federal government has notified the reopening of the trade route to strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries.

He said that the pass had remained an all-weather trade route in past and the reopening would bring prosperity to the local people by generating employment opportunities and thus, alleviating poverty to a great extent in the region.

Sir Taj said that the route could be used for trade as a trade centre of gemstones and hand-woven woolen carpets and rugs of Badakhshan and many items of dried fruits including almond and pistachio of superb quality and other items, adding, that it was the shortest route to Tajikistan and an easy access way to China.

Durah pass was used for trade in early 1990s after the pullout of Russian troops from Afghanistan as the jeepable track was extended to Durrah Pass, which was 14,000 feet above sea level, and the commodities of daily use were transported to Badakhshan province through it.

Like Torkham border, Durah pass area became a commercial hub in past where a market was set up to meet the demand of daily use items of local people.