KARACHI -  Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), Regional Standing Committee on Horticulture Exports, Chairman Ahmad Jawad has said the closure of Pak-Afghan border is badly affecting the export of kinnow to Afghanistan and CIS states, resultantly kinnow export target couldn’t be achieved this year which was fixed at 300,000 tons.

While talking to journalists here on Saturday, he said, “Thousands of people stranded on both sides and traders are unable to move their goods across, the sealing of the border with Afghanistan has created a serious humanitarian crisis”. He said before the closure, hundreds of trucks and containers mainly carrying foodstuffs such as fruit, meat and milk would pass through these two posts alone, adding that the sealing of the border has also affected the trade and movement of people from other checkpoints in the tribal areas. Thousands of trucks with perishable materials are stuck on both sides for the past one month, he added.

He said according to one estimate, traders from both countries have been losing about $4 million a day because of the border closing. Pakistani traders are bearing about 80 percent of those losses.

He further said, “The rising tension between the two countries and the drawdown of the US-led coalition forces have already caused a huge drop in our exports to Afghanistan from $ 2.5 billion to $1.3 billion.” The exports are expected to go down further with the growing uncertainty caused by this new low in relations between two countries, he maintained.

Moreover, he said the government is also losing huge revenue because of the closure of the border. According to figures, 500 trucks on average used to cross the border every day, paying Rs10,000 each in customs duty and transit fees, he added. He said the closure has also affected local traders and those associated with the transportation business. The cumulative losses to the economy by this irrational action are incalculable and it would be extremely difficult to retrieve the situation; he remarked.