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PESHAWAR: President of Frontier Customs Agents Group (FCAG), Zia-ul-Haq Sarhadi, and convener of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry's standing committee on land route, Imtiaz Ahmad Ali, have sought intervention of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief Minister Mahmood Khan for resolution of issues involved in Pak-Afghan trade.

In a joint statement issued here on Saturday, they said some elements were out to damage bilateral trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan and deprive Pakistan of the foreign exchange earned from it.

They alleged that instead of providing security to traders and investors, police had left them at the mercy of local transporters that resulted in delaying exports and transit goods for several weeks.

They said that besides holding meetings with the sector commander of Khyber, the district police officer (DPO), the deputy commissioner and the Inspector-General of Police of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, they were also holding consecutive meetings with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to brief them about their problems.

They said that earlier one thousand trucks used to stop at Takhta Baig, but now they were stopped at Mathani Bara, and after clearance from Torkham trucks were dispatched towards the Pak-Afghan border. But, interesting feature of the episode was the assuming of the responsibility of the stoppage of trucks by the local transporters and allowed to move forward only after getting bribes, they alleged.

Sarhadi and Ali also expressed concerns over lack of facilities and slow process of clearance at the Torkham border and demanded of the authorities to take practical steps for removal of hurdles in both Pak-Afghan bilateral trade and transit trade.

They said that slow scanning process at Torkham was badly affecting bilateral and transit trade. The representatives of the business community demanded of the National Logistics Cell (NLC) for increasing the number of scanners to help speed up clearance of all import and export goods trucks as well as empty trucks.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020