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An economic slap in the face of Pakistan

‘ACCI called on WTO to resolve trade issue; traders decided to boycott ECO summit, bringing to standstill trade and transit deals with Pakistan’

By Farhad Naibkhel-KABUL: The Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI), on Tuesday came hard over closure of Torkham and Spinboldak crossing points by the Pakistani government, calling on World Trade Organization (WTO) to address the issue as it is against WTO agreement. Pakistan is one of the members of WTO, and violated the agreement words through banning crossings.

The ACCI informed that around three thousands Afghan trucks ‘full of fresh fruits, vegetable, poultry, and other transit goods have been stopped since one and half weeks in both side of Torkham and Spinboldak crossing due to its closure by Pakistani government. Moreover, the ACCI also hinted toward standstill of Afghan goods in Karachi port.

“Halting Afghan trucks carrying goods is against all commercial law, thus we call on WTO to start inquiry after the issue through sending a delegation to assess and resolve the problem,” the Deputy of ACCI, Khanjan Alokozay said. “Afghan traders have sustained millions of dollars loses due to rogue policy of Pakistan,” he said, adding that even Pakistani traders did not take their goods back, which is another tragedy. Pointing toward Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA), he said that halting the Afghan trucks is a clear breach of the mutual agreement.

He asked the government to make a clear decision regarding recent challenges created by Pakistani government in areas of economy. “We want the government to lodge complaint against Pakistan to WTO for its crime of acting against commercial law.”

Pointing out toward the 13th summit of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO)—scheduled to be held in Islamabad on March 01, he said that ACCI officials have decided to boycott the summit until Afghan traders’ problem to be resolved.

Continuation of such problem is not in favor of both countries, he said, adding that the Afghan traders would sustain only 20 percent lose, but Pakistani traders would receive 80 percent lose, he claimed.

Alokozai furthered, political tension have negatively impacted over Afghan commercial deals with Pakistan. According to him, since 2010 Afghanistan trade deal has been declined from $3 billion to around one billion with Pakistan.

On the other hand, the traders have come up with a decision to stop all commercials and transit dealing with Pakistan until the trouble resolve completely.

The traders said that Pakistan have to put aside political issues from commercial dealings; otherwise Afghan people would never willing to continue commercial deal with Pakistan. The traders also warned that they have plenty of alternative ways to export and import their goods.

Islamabad had shutdown crossing points after series of terrorist attacks took place in Pakistan, and its military establishment accused Afghanistan for it—which is an irrational accusation.

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