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ISLAMABAD: A 12-member Pakistani official delegation including Secretary Commerce Sualeh Ahmad Faruqui and Secretary Power Rashid Mehmood Langrial is leaving for Kabul on Monday (today) for a three-day visit (July 18-20) for talks on import of coal for power generation, besides matters related to bilateral and transit trade, well informed sources told Business Recorder.

Sharing the details, sources said that government took the initiative to explore the possibility of import of coal from Afghanistan. In this regard, Prime Minister’s Office constituted a Committee under the Minister for Defence.

During the third meeting of Border Management Committee (BMC) under the chairmanship of Federal Minister for Defence, Khawaja Asif it was decided that engagement with Government of Afghanistan is required to streamline border management issues for speedy trade flow. It was also decided that a working level delegation will be sent to Afghanistan to discuss the issues related to cross-border trade of coal.

Accordingly, Prime Minister Office on July 6, 2022 conveyed the approval of Prime Minister for the visit of the following delegation to Afghanistan to discuss the issue related with cross border trade of coal: (i) Secretary Commerce (Lead); (ii) Additional Secretary-1, Power Division; (iii) representatives from Military Operation Directorate; (iv) representatives from Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI); (v) Director General Afghanistan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; (vi) Riaz Ahmed Khan, Joint Secretary (PE/FIA), Ministry of Interior; (vii) Mariya Qazi, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce; (viii) Brig Muhammad Abid, Director Border Terminals, NLC; and (ix) Ahmed Raza Khan, Chief Collector KPK, FBR.

Coal import for power generation: Pakistan’s delegation to visit Afghanistan on 17th

More recently Prime Minister has desired and verbally directed Secretary Power Division Rashid Mahmood Langrial to also join the Pakistani delegation to Afghanistan.

Key issues for discussion include declaration of 24/7 operations at Torkham, Kharlachi and Ghulam Khan border terminals, deployment of additional HR to ensure smooth operations, improvement in infrastructure on Afghan side and cross border movement of vehicles.

The sources said expenditure with respect to the participation of members of the delegation will be met through their respective organisations/ ministries from their current year’s budget.

However, according to Commerce Ministry, as agreed by the Commerce Ministers of Pakistan and Afghanistan in a zoom meeting on July 06, 2022, a delegation led by Sualeh Ahmed Faruqui, Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Government of Pakistan will visit Kabul from 18-20 July 2022. It will comprise senior officers from Ministry of Commerce, FBR, NLC, Ministry of Interior and Power Division.

Bilateral cooperation in the areas of trade, transit, transport facilitation and border facilitation will be discussed during the meetings between Pakistani and Afghan officials in Kabul. Issues being faced by traders in bilateral and transit trade between the two countries will also be discussed during the talks. According to Commerce Ministry, the meeting is a continuation of an ongoing process of bilateral engagements between Pakistan and Afghanistan in the fields of trade, transit, connectivity and economic cooperation.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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