Khunjerab Pass linking Pakistan and China reopens for Trade and Travel after winter closure

After a four-month closure due to severe winter conditions, the Pakistan-China border crossing Khunjerab Pass has reopened, facilitating commercial and tourist activities.

Khunjerab Pass, which remained shut for four months starting November 30, was reopened for travel and trade between Pakistan and China on April 1, 2024.

Trade between Pakistan and China resumed with 15 trucks laden with goods crossing into Pakistan from China through the Khunjerab Pass. The initial shipment consisted of 15 containers carrying commercial goods destined for major Pakistani cities like Lahore, Rawalpindi, and Karachi.

Border opening ceremony at Sost Dry Port

On Monday (April 1), a flag hoisting ceremony was held at the Sost Dry Port, attended by local traders, officials from the Hunza district administration, and Customs officials. Pakistani and Chinese flags were hoisted, and national anthems were played during the ceremony.

Customs official Dr. Asjad, in his address, urged traders to respect the department’s laws. A van of the Northern Areas Transportation Cooperation, carrying passengers including Chinese citizens and European tourists, crossed into China through the pass. On the other side, Chinese containers loaded with imported goods entered Pakistan.

Simultaneously, the annual permit exchange ceremony took place at the China Gate, where Pakistani and Chinese officials exchanged documents and gifts.

Officials expressed hope for increased trade volume and a peaceful environment this year. Recently, focal persons from Tashkurgan and Pakistan have been appointed to resolve trade-related issues with mutual coordination.

Khunjerab Pass

Khunjerab Pass connects Gilgit-Baltistan with China’s Xinjiang region and is the highest paved international border at 15,500 feet from sea level. Under the border protocol agreement signed between the two countries in 1985, the pass remains open for travel and trade between April and November.

However, the pass remains closed from December to March during extreme winter months and snowfall. This year too, the crossing remained closed during winter despite the decision to keep it operational year-round as both countries will need to amend and sign the agreement on border ports and management systems through diplomatic channels to achieve this goal.

Khunjerab Pass serves as a vital land port on the China-Pakistan border and a crucial gateway to South Asia and Europe. Last year, it facilitated the transfer of over 400 containers into Pakistan over six months, generating significant customs revenue.

Khunjerab pass plays an important role in promoting China-Pakistan economic and cultural exchanges. Between April and October 2023, the Khunjerab Pass has recorded over 40,000 inbound and outbound passengers, according to Chinese media report.

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