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‘Pakistan, Afghanistan must shun politics to improve trade – The News International

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‘Pakistan, Afghanistan must shun politics to improve trade’

KARACHI: Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry has demanded the governments of both Pakistan and Afghanistan to allow economics to function freely and help via politics instead of obstructing the free flow of economic activities.

The PAJCCI in a statement on Thursday lamented the declining bilateral trade, pending issues of transit, political and security aspirations, and intervention of international players in Afghanistan over the last couple of years, which has affected the long-term socioeconomic links between the two countries.

The situation has aggravated further due to halted table-talks in form of APTCCA or APAPPS meetings, the statement said. The trust deficit has also increased during the last few months due to unlawful detention of more than 2,000 empty containers and trucks by Afghan authorities at their side of the border.

This, the statement said has not only impacted Pakistani traders and transporters, but also the export of goods to Afghanistan along with transportation of foreign goods lying at the Karachi port.

PAJCCI Chairman Zubair Motiwala said the matter was being reported to higher officials at the Afghan side since October 2018, and Honorary President of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan was also urged to intervene in the resolution of the matter, as the gravity of the situation was multiplying on a daily basis.

This slowdown has led to a shortage of containers and trucks in Pakistan leading to exorbitant rates imposed by shipping lines and bonded carriers along with applicable detention charges, which were also accumulated on a daily basis on every container, raising the cost of business enormously.

PAJCCI President Jawaid Bilwani urged Afghan authorities to convene both APTTCA and APAPPS meetings for the mutual benefit of entities across the border.

PAJCCI Pakistan- Afghanistan Liaison Committee, Peshawar representative Zia Sarhadi during a meeting held two weeks ago said that illegal demands were being made by concerned Afghan authorities for clearance of the empty containers to Pakistan.

He said Afghan importers might exert pressure on the Afghan authorities for allowing clearance of the empty containers, and stated that in Chaman, empty containers return within two or three days.

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