Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim and his Afghan counterpart Anwarul Haq Ahadi inked the deal.
Under the agreement, Afghanistan will be able to send export consignments to India via the Wagah border. The deal, however, does not allow Delhi a trade corridor through Pakistan to Afghanistan.
Trade between India and Afghanistan through sea routes will, however, continue under the previous arrangement.
In return, Pakistan will have access to Central Asian Republics (CAR) through Afghanistan.
Earlier this month, Pakistan’s federal cabinet gave the go-ahead to the trade agreement, but kept its scope restricted by disallowing the transport of Indian export goods to the war-torn country through its land.
The deal is expected to bolster Pakistan’s exports to Afghanistan and Central Asia. Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira told the media after the cabinet meeting that Pakistan would be the ultimate winner of the agreement.
Kaira said it would largely help manufacturers and exporters and the country was expected to earn up to $2 billion through this arrangement. “It is going to be a very significant facility for our manufacturers and exporters.”
After signing the accord on Thursday, Fahim called on Afghan President Hamid Karzai and discussed matters of mutual interest with special reference to strengthening of trade relations between the two countries.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 29th, 2010.