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Pakistan: National highways blocked in support of Chaman protesters against Afghan border restrictions

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All the national highways in Pakistan were blocked in support of traders and daily wagers, protesting in Chaman district in Balochistan for the border closure and imposition of One Document Regime (ODR) for movement between Pakistan and Afghanistan, reported Dawn.

Following the blockade, Balochistan remained cut off from the rest of the country on Tuesday.

Notably, these protests have been continuing for seven months now.

Tehreek-i-Tahafuz Ayeen-i-Pakistan (TTAP), a six-party opposition alliance, called to block the highways, in support of the participants of the Chaman sit-in which has been continuing since October last year, demanding withdrawal of the condition of border crossing between the two countries through passport and visa, according to Dawn.

The main demand of the protesters is the withdrawal of the new regulation and resumption of the old system which allowed travel on Pakistani National Identity Card and Afghan ID Card, called Teskera.

All highways, including Quetta-Chaman, Quetta-Zhob, Quetta-Dera Ghazi Khan and Quetta-Karachi and roads linking Balochistan with Karachi, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa remained closed at different points.

Moreover, the TTAP workers and supporters put barricades and big boulders on the highways, suspending all kinds of traffic between Balochistan and other provinces, as reported by Dawn.

Following this, hundreds of vehicles, including passenger coaches, buses and trucks loaded with import and export goods remained stranded on the highways and roads.

The Afghan transit trade has already been suspended as the Quetta-Chaman highway linking Quetta with Kandahar has remained blocked for the last two weeks and the protesters are not allowing any big vehicle to cross between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

As the highways and roads remained closed till Tuesday evening, people travelling passenger coaches, including women and children have faced great difficulties in this extremely hot weather.

However, later in the night, the TTAP workers and supporters removed the barricades and builders from the highways and restored the traffic, Dawn reported.

Furthermore, no untoward incident was reported from any region of Balochistan during the blocking of highways and roads.