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Removal of hurdles to Pak-Afghan trade demanded

Removal of hurdles to Pak-Afghan trade demanded

PESHAWAR: Various bodies of business community have expressed concern over restrictions on return of empty containers from Afghanistan to Pakistan via Torkham border and urged the federal government to resolve the issue with Afghan authorities.

All Pakistan Flour Mills Association (APFMA), Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI) and All Pakistan Customs Agents Association (APCAA) in separate statements here on Friday demanded of Islamabad and Kabul to remove the restrictions, which could damage the bilateral trade.

APCAA vice-president Ziaul Haq Sarhadi said that the Afghan authorities did not allow empty containers to cross Torkham border unless the truckers paid bribe for the purpose. He said that at least 2,000 Pakistani containers had been stopped forcibly at Khwar Maidan area in Afghanistan since Sept 5. He claimed that the Afghan authorities stopped every container at least for 15 days on the pretext of traffic regulation, but those paying bribe were allowed to proceed.

Mr Sarhadi said that the investors were paying up to $160 per container to the shipping companies on daily basis and the restrictions had been causing them financial losses. He demanded of FBR to abolish the 121 SRO so that the investors could load their consignments in loose cargo of Pakistan Railways at Karachi port to avoid additional charges of containers. He suggested that both the countries should review the new Afghan Transit Trade Agreement to strengthen regional economy.

APFMA in a meeting on Friday demanded of the customs department and other relevant authorities to remove the hurdles on return of goods carriages from Afghanistan. The meeting chaired here by APFMA central chairman Naeem Butt was also attended by its Peshawar division chairman Mohammad Tariq.

The millers demanded of the customs collector and officials of other relevant authorities to take measures for removal of the impediments.