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KARACHI: Pakistan Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI) Chairman Zubair Motiwala on Thursday recommended that before operationalising new border crossings between Pakistan and Afghanistan, governments of both countries must take all measures to first developing supportive infrastructure and operational setups including trained human resources, security, service areas for transporters and general public, functional booths for quick clearance, provision of electricity, roads, bank counters, drinking water and internet.

These measures will ensure facilitation of trade and also revenue for governments.

Welcoming the announcement of operationalise additional border crossings for trade and people-to-people movement between Pakistan & Afghanistan and hoped that government will facilitate business activities especially with neighboring Afghanistan as it is cost effective and efficient trading partner.

“We are one on both sides of border sharing cultural, social and economic values and well being of the masses in border areas who are employed in border trade areas instead of coming to big cities with already stressed infrastructure. This is the right step in uplifting socio-economic status of both countries.

He reiterated PAJCCI demand made in March that Swat has been a traditional trade partner of Afghanistan and was using Bajaur border for bilateral trade which was closed after August 2021 due to regime change in Afghanistan.

There are four border points connecting Swat and Afghanistan however “Nawapass” border crossing has infrastructure on both sides and both governments must take measures to open it at the earliest possible instance. The trade in Swat is suffering due to long route via Torkham and local furniture industry has hugely suffered as it was easy and cost effective to bring raw material from Afghanistan via Bajaur.

He also asked governments to consider opening more border crossings in Baluchistan; at present only one border crossing Chaman is functional and bearing the loaf whereas the opportunity is great where CPEC is based and Gwadar port is available with capacity for transit trade with rest of the world.

PAJCCI and business community on both sides of border greatly appreciates the announcement made by Muhammad Sadiq, Special Envoy for Afghanistan to operationalise additional border crossings for trade and people to people movement between Pakistan & Afghanistan.

He announced that Government of Pakistan has decided to open several additional border crossings with Afghanistan to facilitate economic activity and people movement.

Arandu between Chitral & Kunar and Benshahi between Lower Dir & Kunar are the first two crossings of the series to be made operational.

These crossings are in addition to five fully operational border crossings of Torkham, Ghulam Khan, Kharlachi, Angoor Adda & Chaman-Spin Buldok and one partially opened Dalbandeen crossing. He said that several new border crossings will be opened after agreement of the Afghan government and making necessary arrangements.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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