Afghanistan accuses Pakistan of violating bilateral transit trade treaty

Kabul says Islamabad restricts movement of Afghan cargo to Peshawar.

Our Correspondent October 12, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Afghanistan accused Pakistan of violating the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement 2010 (APTTA) as the Afghan authorities blamed that Islamabad was denying its cargo, access to Wagah border and seaports.

The issue was raised on Thursday during a meeting of the Transit Trade Coordination Authority – a body established to settle disputes arising out of implementation of bilateral transit trade treaty.

According to officials of the Afghanistan embassy, Pakistan was restricting its cargo to Peshawar, which was a violation of the treaty.

Article 3 of the treaty stipulates that there will be freedom of transit through the territory of each contracting party via predetermined routes. Under the APTTA – an improved version of the 1963 bilateral treaty – Afghanistan’s cargo can go up to Wagah border and to Karachi seaports – Karachi Port and Bin Qasim Port.

The officials said that unlike Pakistan the Afghan authorities were allowing the Pakistani cargo to go to any point. The Afghan people were putting pressure on the government to review its decision of giving free access to Pakistan’s cargo until Islamabad resolves the issue, said the officials, suggesting that Kabul may also retaliate.

The justification the Pakistani authorities had given was that they have not yet prepared the mechanism to regulate the cargo movement, said the consulate officials.

According to an official of the Afghan commerce ministry the deputy economic minister of Afghanistan raised the issue of restrictions on Afghan cargo in Pakistan. The official said that the deputy minister requested that Afghanistan’s vehicles carrying fresh fruits should be allowed to go up to Wagah border to cross into India.

The commerce ministry official added that both sides agreed that loose cargo can be carried through road across the border for one year as it was a cheaper mode of transportation. However, the Pakistani authorities turned down Afghanistan’s request to extend the facility for unlimited period.

The coordination authority will meet for two days to resolve the issue and deliberate over other outstanding issues like the customs procedures and problems in implementing insurance guarantees clause, which had been inserted in the treaty to discourage smuggling under the guise of Afghan transit trade.

Haji Fateh Khan, representative of the Federation of International Transport Companies of Pakistan, said that Pakistani transporters were also facing problems in Afghanistan. He said the biggest issue that dented the transport business was the volatile security situation in the neighbouring country. Khan added that Afghanistan was creating hurdles in giving entry permits which was affecting the cross border movement of cargoes.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 12th, 2012.



Maria | 10 years ago | Reply

@Khurram Malik: The Afghanis have always been willing puppets of the Indians and use their country as a base to launch attacks on innocent Pakistanis. For this reason alone, the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan should be sealed. We need to build a big wall or fence along the border and send all the Afghani refugees back to Afghanistan. Just like the US is doing to keep out Mexicans on its border. The majority of these Afghanis live as asylum seekers on welfare in Western countries because they don't work. Why should Pakistan have to keep them when they are always working against Pakistan but living here? As for the comment that part of Afghanistan is annexed into Pakistan- why don't you ask the people who live there like my mother who is from KPK- she wants nothing to do with racially mixed Afghanistan. Instead of worrying about the Pashtuns in Pakistan who are in a bigger number than Afghanistan, you should worry about returning Persian speaking lands of Afghanistan to Tajikstan or Uzbek speaking parts to Uzbekistan or Turkmen parts back to Turkmenistan?. You think we don't know that there are different groups in Afghanistan too? Why don't all these groups in Afghanistan become separate if you want different groups in Pakistan to be separate. Why don't you ask your Indian masters to allow each of their ethnic groups to be separate in India too?

Muslim | 10 years ago | Reply

Afghans never supported India. Stop spreading lies. Afghanistan had more than one opportunity to attack Pakistan to regain its lost territories, but it wouldn't use the India-Pakistan war to its advantage to expose Pakistan. Pakistan is our neighbor and we expect good relations. Our geography can't change, so we better make the best of what we have. Nevertheless, you must realize the grudge that Afghans hold. Our land was annexed by the British into India and it is now part of Pakistan. Of course, we are going to have some resentment. Afghans have been cut in half. Pakistani's are fighting India for Kashmir, because Kashmir is a Muslim region and you have a sense of brotherhood with them, now imagine how we feel when not only do we have a sense of Muslim brotherhood with KPK, FATA, and parts of Baluchistan, but share the same ethnicity, langauge, culture and history. So be a little understanding to our feelings.

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