PESHAWAR: Trade activities between Pakistan and Afghanistan at the Ghulam Khan border in North Waziristan tribal district have been fully restored and gained new momentum on Monday, a senior official said.
“Now Pakistani-Afghan trade activities are moving ahead and around 250 loaded vehicles pass the dusty Ghulam Khan border from and to Afghanistan on a daily basis. Pakistan mainly exports rice, sugar, cement and kino fruits to Afghanistan, while in return the neighboring country exports dry fruits, handwoven carpets, fruits and nuts,” Ghani Rehman, a senior official in Miran Shah, the headquarters of North Waziristan tribal district, told Arab News on Tuesday.
Special directives were issued to border authorities to end any hindrance to the movement of loaded vehicles on the border to encourage trade, he said, adding that it is going to give commerce activities a fresh push as there will be no more unnecessary delays.
“In addition, (people of) the Gurbaz tribe live on both sides of the border and visit their relatives on a daily basis, encouraging trade between the two countries,” Rehman added.
He said the fencing of the porous Pakistan-Afghanistan border was underway and its completion would improve security and have a far-reaching positive impact on regulating trade activity between Kabul-Islamabad.
But Faiz Muhammad, executive member of the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industries (SCCI), told Arab News that he was pessimistic Ghulam Khan activity would bring any tangible results in bilateral trade, because similar measures have already been implemented on the Torkham and Chaman borders, but the volume of traded goods was not increasing.
“Pakistan should move to reduce tariffs on goods, decrease import duty, offer special incentives to Afghan traders, which would help increase trade between the two neighbors manifold. Pakistan needs to give the most favored nation (MFN) status to Afghanistan to prevail on the Afghan market. Currently, bilateral trade stands at only $1 billion annually,” he said.
Faridullah Jan, a tribal elder from North Waziristan, told Arab News the resumption of trade activities on the Ghulam Khan crossing would create business opportunities for local people.
“People here already have started opening roadside kiosks, tire shops and petrol pumps to eke out a livelihood. Both countries should remove bureaucratic red tape and unnecessary delay of goods at the border to multiply businesses,” he said.