Pak-Afghan trade feeding millions of mouths. Trade barriers should be removed to boost exports. Iran, Tajikistan grabbing Pak share in Afghan market.

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(May 06, 2020)

FPCCI’s Businessmen Panel SVP, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum and All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Wednesday said millions of people are making a living though Pak-Afghan trade, therefore this issue should be tackled seriously. The trade barriers should be removed to save millions of livelihoods and arrest a continued fall in exports, he said.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that a few weeks back the authorities completely closed the border, later the transit trade cargo was allowed while local cargo was not allowed and now a limited flow transit and local cargo has been allowed which indicates confusion.

Talking to the business community, the veteran business leader said that after reopening the border for three days, the interior ministry jumped in and issued notification for opening border for five day. However, now only 100 trucks or containers per day have been allowed to cross into Afghanistan in which fifty would be carrying transit goods while fifty will be carrying local goods.

The former minister noted that the decision is surprising as the daily almost five hundred trucks or trailers carrying local merchandise used to cross the border and now the backlog has reached to thousands.

He said that following the news of lifting the ban the business community loaded hundreds of trucks with different items but to their disappointment only fifty are being allowed resulting in additional losses. The non-serious attitude of the government functionaries is adding insult to the injury of the exporters and importers who have suffered heavy losses due to the coronavirus issue, he said, adding that many industrial units in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and former Fata have been established to cater for needs of Afghanistan which are now under threat.

Closure of industrial units and ghee mills will hit revenue, employment and confidence of the business community, therefore, the border should be fully reopened otherwise Pakistan will lose this market as Iran and Tajikistan is trying to bank on the opportunity, he informed.

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