India finds route to Kabul via Pakistani seaports

Pakistan has allowed India to sell its products to Afghanistan and up to Central Asia via Pakistani seaports.

Shahbaz Rana July 20, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has allowed India to sell its products to Afghanistan and up to Central Asia via Pakistani seaports, reveals the commerce secretary. But experts fear that the decision may allow New Delhi to outpace Islamabad in its industrial exports to Kabul, which is a gateway to the land-locked Central Asia.

In an interview with The Express Tribune, Commerce Secretary Zafar Mahmood said that under the Pak-Afghan Transit Trade Agreement, Afghanistan can import Indian products through the sea route.

He said the facility was already available but now Afghanistan’s trucks would be allowed to load these products directly from the seaports.

Zafar Mahmood was speaking for the first time after Islamabad and Kabul signed on Sunday a new transit trade treaty in the presence of US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. It is believed that the US pressured Pakistan into giving trade concessions to Afghanistan.

Under the existing trade arrangement, Afghanistan’s trucks were not allowed to move beyond Peshawar to carry Afghanistan-bound goods. However, under the new arrangement, yet to be ratified by the cabinet, Afghanistan’s trucks have been permitted to go to Pakistani seaports and Wagah border.

Naeem Bukhari, an expert in trade affairs, said that India got the edge by virtue of the new agreement, as its industrial hub was in Mumbai and it would export its goods to Afghanistan, which is a gateway to the Central Asia, via Pakistani ports. He said India now will have formal trade with Afghanistan and Central Asia and it would outpace Pakistan’s industrial exports to these countries.

The commerce secretary said that India would not be allowed to sell its products to Afghanistan via the Wagha border till the normalisation of bilateral relations. In Bukhari’s opinion, by not allowing India to use the Wagha border Pakistan only secured its perishable exports to Afghanistan. He added that Islamabad ceded ground to New Delhi by extending it sea to land route for its industrial exports to Kabul.

The secretary said that the agreement was a win-win situation for both the countries. “Pakistan would be able to effectively check smuggling and Afghan truckers would get a boost on top of having opportunity of trading with India”.

He said still it was not a formal agreement but a record note of decisions, which were taken in the meeting. “It has more moral value than a legal status. However, it ends the process of negotiations.”

He said keeping in mind the broader principles agreed upon between the two states the details will be incorporated, which would be ratified by the cabinet.  He said the final agreement would be signed soon.

Zafar Mahmood said that the major achievement was that all Afghanistan-bound imports on Karachi port will only be cleared after taking bank guarantees equivalent to the import duties on the imported items from the importer or his clearing agent. He said these guarantees would be refunded only after Pakistan satisfied itself that the consignment had reached its destination.  He said in case of doubt Pakistan could forfeit the financial guarantees.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2010.


Tabassum Khan | 11 years ago | Reply assalamvalaikum, Its the human who is greedy for food, money, land, blood NOT an indian or pakistani or an american. We are responsible for our own downfall becuase what we think we follow that. But today if anyone wants to get success in life he has to think for better business, better policies rather than getting into other's mess regarding who did what, why when...etc. Though the words are just our dictating thoughts but what exactly matters is what we think. If we have had and having losses we need to learn from these mistakes and if we really are intelligent can sort out these problems instead of stabbing back to opponents by words, by hatred. Its just waste of time and energy. Gather your energy into positive atmosphere to get positive results. Keep your thoughts for a good cause you will see my friends you will always get a good result. Hatred is nothing but a saitan. Allah made us human, who has got the best brain to think and best heart to feel for the relations. So stop being animal. Its just our own mind that divide us otherwise above all we all are human and we should love everyone. When there is love there is rehmat and thats how Allah is with us then. I have just given in general view but i think friends all views simplifies my thought at the end anyhow. I pray for all mankind to learn mercy and love.
shekar | 11 years ago | Reply Hey you know what pakistan has a very convenient way of exporting into india through afghanistan on their trucks to wagah look at it positively you can do good business if you have the products
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