PESHAWAR              -           Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) urged the government to review policy on zero point at Torkham border to further enhance bilateral trade and transit trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan and to ease problems of business community on both sides of the border.

The demand was made in a meeting of the SCCI President Maqsood Anwar with Fawad Arash, Afghan Commercial Attaché in Peshawar here at the chamber house on Tuesday. In the meeting SCCI office bearers Shahid Hussain and Jalil Jan, Ziaul Haq Sarhadi, president of Frontier Customs Agents’ Association were present. The participants informed that bilateral trade and transit trade business between Pakistan and Afghanistan is remained low for the last three months owing to exchange of driver on zero point at Pak-Afghan Torkham border and unloading of goods vehicles because of which traders, exporters and importers on both sides of the border had been inflicted huge financial losses.

They urged the government and Ministry of Interior to enforce similar standard operating procedures (SOPs) for bilateral, transit trade and export, import between Pakistan and Afghanistan, which are being implemented at all international airports across the world. The speakers emphasized to allow Pak-Afghan transit trade and export goods vehicles to be unloaded at any point in Afghanistan. They called upon the government and relevant authorities to take proactive steps to remove hurdles in way of bilateral trade and transit trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The SCCI vice president Shahid Hussain on the occasion apprised the meeting about impediments to Pak-Afghan mutual trade, transit trade and problems being faced by the business community on both sides of the border. He urged the government to take pragmatic measures for amicable resolution of problems of the business community and remove obstacles in way of trade between the two neighboring countries. He also informed that a joint Jirga of the Pakistan and Afghanistan business community in collaboration with federal and provincial governments will soon be convened in Peshawar. Earlier, both Pakistani and Afghan traders were agreed to take joint steps to resolve the problems of traders, exporters and importers on both sides of the border. Besides, the Pakistan economy, businesses and jobs of large number of people have attached with Pak-Afghan trade, the participants said.

Therefore, they asked the Islamabad and Kabul to pay attention to issues pertaining to Pak-Afghan bilateral trade and transit trade, which can bring billions in shape of foreign exchange in national kitty and will enhance Pakistan’s revenue. Fawad Arash, Afghan Commercial Attaché on the occasion were agreed with the proposals of SCCI president, Mr Maqsood and other participants. The Afghan diplomat informed the meeting in detail about the problems being faced by Afghan traders, exporters and importers.