World Bulletin / News Desk
The private sector of the two neighboring countries with the support of western diplomatic missions had established the Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI) six years ago in March 2012 to overcome the issues, which have worsened instead of being resolved.
It was announced at the launch of PAJCCI in Pakistan’s port city of Karachi -- which has for long served as the main link for international trade for Afghanistan -- that the body would strive to overcome transit impediments, enhance mutual trade and investment.
The Afghans hoped this would ensure that their shipments would no longer get delayed for unknown reasons while Pakistani traders eyed to access the Central Asian markets via the war-ravaged country.
Khan Jan Alakozay, vice president of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) and the founding member of PAJCCI, acknowledged that the trade between the two countries, which he pronounces as “natural trade partners” has been “politicized”.
“Every other day the Torkham border-crossing point and other routes are closed abruptly by Pakistan that has inflicted heavy financial toll, hurt traders and caused political repercussions,” he told Anadolu Agency.
The ACCI statistics indicate that imports from Pakistan has dropped from around $3 billion a couple of years ago to little over $1 billion now.
Considering the proximity in so many ways, Alakozay still believes if the rift between the two countries is resolved, the people and traders have much to gain in the two countries.
Meanwhile, after years of closure, the Ghulam Khan crossing point linking Khost province of Afghanistan with the North Waziristan of Pakistan opened last week upon the persisting demands of traders in both the country, Alakozay said.
He said this breakthrough can help overcome impediments in deteriorating bilateral trade. The trucks from Pakistan would be allowed entry to Afghanistan five days in a week while the trucks from Afghanistan would cross-over on the remaining two days in the week, he said.