ISLAMABAD Pakistan has turned a deaf ear to Afghan governments request to allow passage of Indian goods through Wagah border to the land-locked country.
Inside sources informed TheNation that Afghan delegation which was on a two-day visit to Pakistan (6-7 July) formally requested the authorities during the seventh round of the Pak-Afghan Joint Working Group in Islamabad, jointly chaired by the finance ministers of the two countries, to allow Afghan-India trade by Wagah border.
Sources said that the fear of smuggling and other regional issues made Pakistani authorities reluctant to provide transit for the trade between India and Afghanistan; however, Finance Ministry of Pakistan did not confirm that report.
We have told the brotherly nation that there are regional issues linked with trade and it would not be possible as long as smuggling is controlled, said an official of Finance Ministry.
It is believed that the refusal came after serious objections were raised by countrys security agencies against giving permission to Indian trucks or even sealed containers moving across the country.
If Pakistan heeds the US and allows Afghanistans dry fruits to pass through its territory to India, everyone would get benefit from it, said a businessman.
According to the reports emanating from India, the traders of Kolkatas oldest market Burrabazar were hugely excited about the prospects of a resumption of trade with Afghanistan engaging Pakistan.
The hope arose after a high level delegation of Afghanistan visited Islamabad to discuss possibility of trade between Afghanistan and India using Pakistani territory.
It is pertinent to mention here that Afghanistan had been encouraged by US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsacks visit to the war-torn country last January, when he said that Pakistan needed to allow Afghan products, mainly dry fruits and pomegranates, to pass through its territory to Asias biggest dry fruit consumer.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 08-Jul-2010 here.