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    Pak officials accused of seeking bribes from importers

    ISLAMABAD/JALALABAD (PAN): Afghan vegetable importers are forced into paying bribes by Pakistani guards and customs officials at the Torkham border crossing, a traders' representative said on Sunday.

    Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries Director for the eastern zone, Eng. Qasim Yusufi, told Pajhwok Afghan News almost 50 truckloads of vegetable were imported daily from the neighbouring country.

    He alleged Pakistani custom officials and border guards illegally received 10,000 Pakistani rupees for each truck crossing the Durand Line. The trucks were not allowed to cross the border if they did not pay the amount, he claimed.  

    Officials at the Customs Clearing Department at Torkham port stop trucks for several hours, according to Ahmadullah, a vegetable importer. He said their shipments were sometimes delayed for days and the vegetables went rotten.

    Trader’s Union head in Pakistan, Zar Raqib Khan, acknowledged the issue, saying they had launched efforts to resolve the matter.

    But the customs official at the port, Zahiruddin, rejected the claims as baseless, reasoning that clearance of trucks was sometime delayed due to rush.