Traders raise serious
concerns over halt of
Pak-Afghan bilateral trade

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) president Muhammad Ishaq expressed serious concerns over stuck up of a large number of export and transit trucks laden with essential food commodities and perishable items at Torkham owing to closure of the border on the Afghanistan side.

He urged the Afghan government to review its decision and issue orders for the immediate opening of the border.

Talking to a delegation of traders and exporters here at the chamber on Wednesday, Ishaq said it was witnessing a long queue of 7,500 export and transit trucks loaded with sugar and other perishable items from Torkham to Hamza Baba Chowk.

He warned the truck queue will be stretched over to Peshawar, if the border on the Afghanistan side was not opened immediately. On the other hand, the SCCI chief said the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has allotted a quota for 45 day of sugar export, and 22 days so far have almost passed.

Whereas, he added, traders are bearing Rs45,000 per truck as demurrage charges and Rs6,000 as halting charges per vehicle on the daily basis.

He said the Pak-Afghan traders have been faced with a huge financial loss due to closure of the border.

Ishaq said when they have made contact with Pakistani authorities concerned and then the official told us that the border was closed on the Afghanistan side, which has caused piling up of a large number of export and transit trade trucks at the Torkham border.

Therefore, he urged the Afghan government to revisit its decision as the further closure of the border was not in the best interest of Pak-Afghan traders, bilateral trade between the both countries as well as transit trade.

The SCCI chief emphasized that Islamabad and Kabul should sort out solutions to all issues by holding a joint sitting and to prevent any damage to Pak-Afghan bilateral and transit trade.

He also stressed the ending of an environment of trust-deficit between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

According to the Pakistani authorities, Ishaq said the government of Pakistan has issued clear instructions to utilize all possible resources to facilitate Pak-Afghan trade and transit trade.

As per directions, the SCCI chief said the Pakistan officials concerned told him that pragmatic steps are being taken for carrying out smooth and speedy bilateral trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan and trade to onward regional countries.

He added the Pakistan officials further informed that there was not creating hurdles in the way of bilateral trade.

Ishaq went on to say that halting trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan was best in the best interest of the economy, trade and business communities of the both countries so the Afghan government should order for opening of the border without any further delay.