Peshawar          -       Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan on Monday said that promotion of bilateral trade with Afghanistan was an important component of the incumbent government’s vision to boost international trade. The provincial government would extend all out support to facilitate bilateral trade with Afghanistan as well as the Afghan Transit Trade with to boost trade and other economic activities with Afghanistan.

Talking to a delegation of the executive committee of Pak-Afghan Parliamentary Friendship Group here he stressed the need to have an effective mechanism of coordination amongst the provincial government, relevant federal entities and other stakeholders in order to streamline all matters related to Afghan Transit Trade and bilateral trade with Afghanistan. He said all concerned entities needed to sit together and devise a long-term strategy to remove all bottlenecks in this regard.

The delegation discussed with the Chief Minister various matters related to Afghan Transit Trade as well as bilateral trade with Afghanistan.

The delegation was headed by Special Assistant to Prime Minister Arbab Shehzad. Special representative of Prime Minister for Afghanistan Sadiq Khan, Provincial Minister Taimur Jhagra, Inspector General Frontier Corps, Chief Secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Inspector General Police Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Federal Secretaries Interior, Commerce, Foreign Affairs, Chairman FBR, representatives of Custom and other relevant civil and military high ups were also present on the occasion.

Matters related to the promotion of trade activities with Afghanistan in the light of decisions taken by the National Command & Operation Centre, better and efficient management at Torkham Terminal, capacity enhancement of Custom at Torkham Pass and issues related to clearance of back lock in Afghan Transit Trade due to prevailing Corona situation came under discussion.

It was agreed to have an effective coordination mechanism amongst the provincial government, relevant federal departments and other stakeholders to streamline all matters related to Afghan Transit Trade, and as an immediate step to this end it was agreed to expand parking capacity for the containers of Afghan Transit Trade in suitable places near Torkham border.

It was also agreed to hold talks with Afghan government to improve arrangements and enhance capacities on both sides in order to ensure 24/7 operation of Afghan Transit Trade.

The Chief Minister underlined the need for pragmatic steps to facilitate bilateral trade activities with Afghanistan on sustainable basis and urged upon the Executive Committee of Pak-Afghan Parliamentary Friendship Group to consider other frequent crossing points to be used in future for bilateral trades with Afghanistan so that maximum employment opportunities could be created for the people of the province by increasing the volume of bilateral trade with Afghanistan.

He once again assured the forum of all out support and facilitation of the provincial government to boost trade with Afghanistan.

Special Assistant to PM Arbab Shehzad expressed gratitude to the provincial government for extending all out support and facilities to promote bilateral trade with Afghanistan as well as Afghan Transit Trade.