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Editorial: Sinking bilateral trade

Amidst tall claims on the part of Pakistani rulers regarding strengthening of relations and playing role in return of peace in Afghanistan on other part they are making obstacles ahead of bilateral trade with Afghanistan, which is now at verge of collapse. Pakistani officials at Torkham crossing point with the passage of every day are introducing new laws and restrictions on imports from Afghanistan. And in reaction, the Afghan officials are also imposing own made fines and charges against the Pakistan goods trucks. However, as a result the traders and transporters are the prime victims. Recent report reveal that around 70 trollers loaded with apple are stranded at Torkham as the crossing point authorities are making objections after objections on the imports documents. These goods trollers are stranded from last 20 days and almost of apples have been rotten, thus inflicting millions of rupees losses to importers as well as to transporters. In reaction, the Afghan government (officials) has imposed new taxes and charges against the goods trucks owned by Pakistani transporters. And the transporters are reluctant to pay newly introduced charges. Ultimately, almost traders and transporters from both the neighbouring countries are being affected. At once the volume of both the neighbouring countries was over five billion US dollars. But now it is less than 500 million dollars, which is a great step and it indicates that we are no more reliant on Pakistan anymore, but we want mutual trade with any country. All time when Islamabad faced pressure from international community, it directly closed the crossing points. However, at current time, its farmers will cry if Pakistan closes trade gates. The illegal trade commonly known as smuggling is in progress despite tall claims on the part of Pakistani authorities of having full security on Durand Line. Discouraging legal and traditional trade through legalized crossing points is benefiting no other than war mongers and terrorists. Not only Pakhtoons but even thousands of families from rest of Pakistan are also depending in bilateral trade with Afghanistan. Couple of days ago President Ashraf Ghani has signed new transit and trade routes agreements with Turkmenistan. Without mentioning the name of Pakistan, President Ghani had alleged that their transit trade routes are being curbed and restrictions are being tightened for traders, therefore, they are compelled to explore new routes. So far he claimed they succeeded and now diverting almost trade and business activities to new routes through Iran and Central Asian Republics. No one can deny that Afghan government is compelled to explore these new routes due to sanctions and restrictions of Pakistan. At the same time it is also a fact that Pakistan has no other market than Afghanistan and with new routes Afghanistan showed to the world that we are no more a land lock country, and in reverse it has been a great blow to the Pakistan’s wrong policy toward Afghanistan.

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