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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Afghanistan are said to have agreed on multiple measures for the promotion of trade and commerce between the two neighbouring countries.

This understanding was reached during a three-day visit of a 12-member official delegation comprising Secretary Commerce Sualeh Faruqui and Secretary Power Rashid Ahmed Langrial to Kabul.

An official told Business Recorder that the two sides agreed to make all out efforts to launch luxury bus service between Peshawar and Jalalabad and Quetta and Kandahar by the end of next month.

It was also agreed that the difficulties in visa processing would be addressed through mutual coordination between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The two sides also reaffirmed to maintain regular coordination for implementing these understandings and further expand economic cooperation.

According to sources, 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.

The issue which came under discussion included 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.

Bilateral cooperation in the areas of trade, transit, transport facilitation and border facilitation was also 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.

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