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PESHAWAR: Members of the business community demanded restoration of the export cargo train from Peshawar to Karachi, pragmatic steps to fully make Azakhel Dry port, speeding up goods clearing process and lifting restrictions on loose cargo.

These demands were made during a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) on Railways and Dry-port presided by its chairman Ziaul Haq Sarhadi held at the chamber’s house.

Meeting was attended by the Sarhad Chamber Standing Committee on Carpet Export Mazharul Haq. Besides, Additional Director, Transit Trade Directorate Custom House Peshawar Shams Wazir, Custom Station Torkham Appraisement Deputy Collector Mohib Khan, Pakistan Railways Commercial Inspector Siddique Tanoli, Anti-Narcotics Forces Assistant Director Salman Shaukat, members of business community including Mumtaz Khan, Asmat Zeb, Shehryar, All Pakistan Customs Agents Association Karachi Vice Chairman Farooq Ahmad, Frontier Customs Agents Association Secretary General Mian Wahid Bacha and others were present in a large number in the meeting.

Ziaul Haq Sarhadi on the occasion appraised the business community reservations regarding lack of facilities at Azakhel Dry-port. He said Azakhel Dry port was established on 28 acre lands with cost Rs 600 Million has lost its importance owing to lack of facilities. He added that the business community has faced great hardship because of dual checking and clearing goods consignments, de-stuffing and payment of demurrage charges and slow process of export cargo trucks.

Sarhadi demanded the resumption of export cargo trains from Peshawar to Karachi. He also called for revival of Goods in Transit to Afghanistan (GITA) service. He went on to say that Pakistan Railways had played a pivotal role in both cargo and passenger traveling. He, however, said service of passenger trains had been reduced from Peshawar while City Railway booking agency also closed in Peshawar, which was facilitating the passenger for travelling on trains from Peshawar to Karachi. Similarly, he said the Railways Advisory Committee was established, which aimed at taking decisions with consent of the business community, which was currently inactivated and demanding to restore it immediately to resolve the community issues on priority grounds.

The committee chairman demanded the clearing of export goods trucks under one-window operation to speed the export process and avoid multiple checks by various departments, especially ANF, which sometimes conducted double checking. He called for abolishment of SRO-121 and allowing loose cargo.

On the occasion, the SCCI’s standing committee on Carpet Export Mazhar ul Haq also spoke and apprised the meeting issues of the business community elaborately.

Participants during the meeting congratulated the newly appointed chairman FBR Malik Amjad Zubair Tiwana, Member FBR Customs Ms Zeba Azhar Hai, Director General Transit Trade Karachi Wajid Ali and Chief Collector Customs Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Muhammad Saleem for taking charge of new responsibilities and hailed the government’s decision, expressing hope that newly appointed high-officials would play important role in resolving business community issues.

Senior officials from Pakistan Railways, Customs and ANF assured the business community that they will take up their issues at the central level to address them instantly.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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