KABUL (Pajhwok): Pakistan has decided to open its land routes for transit trade under an international agreement signed in December in the Indonesian city of Bali under the World Trade Organisation (WTO), a report said on Sunday.
The agreement requiring all countries to provide transit for promoting regional trade could be implemented by July this year, a leading Pakistani newspaper said, adding Islamabad and New Delhi would not be able to prevent traders from using their land routes.
“Some people, especially those who will be responsible for creating infrastructure at the border or maintaining highways, say the agreement may put additional burden on Pakistan’s resources,” the newspaper reported.
On the other hand, Commerce Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan argued the accord would benefit Pakistan, allowing the transit of its goods through India to Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.
Afghanistan has been allowed the use Pakistan’s land route for exports to India -- a facility that New Delhi has been denied. “Transit trade between India and Afghanistan through Pakistan is our major red line,” one government official told the daily.
With accession to the agreement, however, Pakistan has lost that freedom to exercise its discretion. A customs official said huge resources were needed to build infrastructure at Wagah, Torkham and Chaman border crossings.