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Islamabad reviews Afghan-Pak JEC progress

AT Monitoring Desk-KABUL: Pakistan’s Finance Minister, Mohammad Ishaq Dar, received briefing over progress made by the Pak-Afghanistan Joint Economic Commission (JEC) aimed at overhauling ties between the two neighboring countries.

According to Associated Press of Pakistan (APP), a state-owned news agency, Dar chaired an inter-ministerial meeting on the Implementation Status of the decisions of the JEC meeting held in November 2014. The Pakistani minister was told on Friday about progress regarding CASA 1000 project. He was also briefed on energy pricing and payment guarantees which were finalized last year.

Pakistan’s Ministry of Communication briefed Ishaq Dar about Torkham-Jalalabad Additional Carriageway. The ministry said the executive committee of the national economic council had approved its revised cost and was processing request to release funds.

In the meeting the finance minister was briefed over the Chaman-Spinboldak Rail Link project. The minister was told that project activities would be started in tandem with construction of the Kandhar-Spinboldak section by the Afghan government, APP reported.

The minister was also told about Afghanistan’s request regarding trade facilitation and storage space at Pakistani ports.

The ministry of port and shipping said that enough storage space was available at Port Qasim in Karachi and if more space was required by Afghans then the port’s authorities would extend that but on monthly rental basis. Representative of the port and shipping ministry said that facilities had been provided at all ports for Afghan cargo and requirement of scanning Afghan transit cargo would be reduced.

In the meeting Ishaq Dar appreciated the Higher Education Commission (HEC) for undertaking Scholarship Scheme for Afghan Students. The HEC representative said that it has arranged admission of 609 Afghan students. Dar expressed satisfaction over the progress made so far by different Pakistani ministries and said that implementation on the decisions taken by the JEC on fast track was desire of leaders of the two countries.

He urged the relevant ministries to maintain vibrant coordination with their Afghan counterparts in order to ensure the decisions were implemented in better manner.

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