ISLAMABAD - Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser has stressed for implementation of recommendations of the executive committee of Pak-Afghan Friendship Group for fully realizing the export potential of the country. 

“Promoting exports is imperative for economic stability and development of Pakistan, as Afghanistan by virtue of its location was a favorable export destination, besides being at the transit route to the Central Asia,” said the speaker National Assembly, while chairing the appraisal meeting of the executive committee of the Pakistan Afghanistan Parliamentary Friendship Group (PFG). The purpose of the committee is to review the implementation of the decisions regarding Pak-Afghan Trade and visa facilitation.

The NLC representative informed the committee that container clearance had reached average up to 1,870 per day due to deployment of extra personnel and speedy clearance of Afghanistan bound containers and would be enhanced up to 2000 containers per day.

The speaker appreciated the performance of FBR and Customs Department regarding container clearance on Torkham and Chaman borders. He directed FBR and Customs to ensure clearance of containers of Afghan Transit Trade within a week. 

He also remarked that easing down the scanning requirements for the Afghan Transit Trade would facilitate the traders and directed the Customs Department to complete the process within week. He directed representative of the State Bank of Pakistan to ensure establishment of bank branches at Angoor Adda and Ghulam Khan borders for facilitation of traders. The representative of SBP informed that Bank of Khyber and National Bank of Pakistan would establish bank branches within stipulated time.

He commended approval of the cabinet for visa liberalisation policy for Afghan Nationals on recommendation of this committee. Enquiring about implementation of the matter relating to off-loading of import containers at Miran Shah instead of Ghulam Khan and deployment of FIA personnel at Ghulam Khan, Angoor Adda and Kharlachi, the speaker directed secretary M/o Interior to immediately assess the ground situation and submit a report at the earliest to facilitate the Afghan Transit Trade.

Reviewing progress on the issue of waving off demurrage and detention charges for the Afghan Transit Trade containers, the committee recommended unanimously to forward this matter to Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet. The committee also unanimously recommended to bring a legislative bill regarding waiving off demurrage issues. Inquiring about reducing the number of checkpoints, the speaker directed Special Assistant to PM on Establishment to hold meeting with Balochistan government, stakeholders and apprise the committee of rationalisation of the required number of checkposts. 

The SPAM remarked that the recent approval of rationalisation and visa liberalisation policy for Afghanistan by Cabinet is due the substantive efforts and deliberation on the part of this executive committee. He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan during approval of the visa policy for Afghanistan had directed to provide all facilities to visa seekers in Kabul Embassy of Pakistan. Sadiq Khan Prime Minister Special Envoy to Afghanistan said that coordination of FBR and NLC was vital to facilitate the transit traders. MNA Mohsin Darwar and Shahdana Gulzar Khan suggested for on ground visit of Torkham, Chamman and Angoor Adda, besides giving retrospective legislation in the matter of waiving of demurrage issues.

MNAs Mohsin Darwar, Salahuddin Ayubi, Shandana Gulzaar, Sajida Begum, senior officers of Ministries of Commerce, Interior, National Food Security, Maritime, Foreign Affairs, State Bank of Pakistan, FBR and Representative of Governments of KPK and Balochistan attended the meeting.