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Editorial: Trade with loss, deficit

At once bilateral trade between Afghanistan and Pakistan was on rise and even it was registered above five billion US dollars in 2005-2006. But since that the legal trade between the two neighboring countries is on decline due to deteriorating relations. Afghanistan is a landlocked country, therefore, its most of foreign trade was depending on Pakistan’s land and sea routes. But due to deteriorating relations and deadly terrorist attacks on goods trucks, Afghanistan explored other routes for its transit and foreign trade. Till end of 2012 around 30 percent transit trade was diverted from Karachi Pakistan to Bandar Abbass Iran and other Central Asian Republics. But in previous couple of years, relations further worsened and even Pakistan went on imposition of one side restrictions on the pretext of crossing point security management but even it enhance more restrictions on bilateral trade with Afghanistan. As a result trade between the two neighboring countries went imbalance. Afghanistan is known for quality production of fresh fruits and vegetables and for precious deposits of mineral resources. And Pakistan has adopted a unique policy for exploiting or getting maximum benefits of Afghanistan’s agriculture production and mineral resources. Compare to perishable items like grapes, melons, apples and others, there are minimum restrictions on mineral resources. In previous December million of US dollars worth apples got rotten due to negative impacts of Pakistan’s one sided restrictions on bilateral trade with Afghanistan. All these apples were loaded on trucks and trollers who were denied clearance and onward proceeding at Torkham. But compare to that one  is surprises to see hundreds of trucks loaded with mineral resources like stones (called Show Kanray), coals, Marble stones (rocks) and others are being poured in Khyber, North Waziristan and other parts of the country from Afghanistan. Almost of these mineral resources are being unearthed from the areas controlled by Taliban militants. And deteriorating law and order situation is always in interests of these smugglers and traders. The ongoing turmoil in Afghanistan, especially in the areas along with borders is seems beneficial for smugglers and traders and Pakistan as well. Unfortunately from last four decades, Afghanistan and its people are ahead with imported violence, militancy and terror. Now along with discussing ways and means for return of peace and normalcy, Afghan and Pakistan leaders and public opinion makers must keep in mind their responsibilities of safeguarding economic interests.

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