Pakistan, Afghanistan trade at standstill

Businessmen urge govt to allow stuck containers to enter Afghanistan

APP April 28, 2020
Pak-Afghan border Torkham. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Businessmen have requested the concerned authorities to allow export of Pakistani consignments to Afghanistan through Chaman, Torkham and Khorlachi borders which are facing hurdles.

In a press release issued on Monday, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) President Mian Anjum Nisar highlighted that bilateral trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan was at a standstill.

Earlier, the borders were sealed due to Covid-19 pandemic but the government re-opened them this month and allowed movement of cargo to Afghanistan, he said.

“However, the concerned authorities on the borders are allowing only those trucks to pass which are carrying cargo under the Afghan Transit Trade,” he said. “Pakistani exporters are facing heavy losses as thousands of trucks, carrying perishable items such as rice, potatoes, vegetables and medicinal items, are stuck at the Pakistan-Afghan borders.”

He added that advance payments for the consignments had already been deposited in the banks including advance income tax and EDF charges.

The official stressed that these items could not be exported to any other country except Afghanistan and requested the concerned authorities to allow Pakistani export consignments to enter Afghanistan.

“The government of Pakistan opened the borders to facilitate the traders and exporters under bilateral trade as well as the Afghan Transit Trade,” he pointed out.

He highlighted that even in the midst of Covid-19, trade between Iran and Afghanistan was not halted and was running smoothly whereas Pakistani exporters were facing hurdles and trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan was at a standstill, which was damaging the economy.

He added that Adviser to Prime Minister of Commerce Razak Dawood had assured businessmen that Pakistan-Afghanistan borders would operate for five days a week.

He demanded immediate notification on opening of borders and permission to swiftly export Pakistani goods.  

Published in The Express Tribune, April 28th, 2020.

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