Pak-Afghan officials discuss transit trade issues


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PESHAWAR: Pakistan and Afghanistan on Thursday held a daylong meeting on the joint border to discuss various issues relating to the transit trade, including the pendency in the clearance of goods.

The border committee meetings are held regularly on a fortnightly basis to improve effective liaison and coordination for smooth operation of bilateral and transit trade on both sides of the border.

At the meeting, the 15-member Pakistani delegation was led by Customs Transit Trade Director Arbab Qaiser Hameed and included Additional Director Shams Wazir, Additional Collector Appraisement Muhammad Rizwan and others.

The Pakistani delegation was received by Raees Gumrak, an Afghan Customs official from Nangarhar and Haji Fazle Hadi, on their arrival in Afghanistan, a statement said.

On the occasion, Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI) Director Ziaul Haq Sarhadi demanded taking stakeholders into confidence on the 2010 agreement of the transit trade, which was facing delay in implementation.

He stressed the need for making the Transit Trade Agreement of 2010 operational at the earliest, warning that otherwise the business community would face a lot of problems.

Sarhadi also demanded the provision of loose cargo transportation via trains, saying that the transportation of containers via trucks was very expensive and put an extra financial burden on the businessmen.

The representatives from the Afghan side demanded permission for increasing the number of attendants accompanying patients.

They also demanded of Pakistani authorities to expedite the visa issuance process.

The Afghan side proposed that the consul general of Afghanistan should also arrange a meeting of businessmen on a fortnightly basis to take review of the issues facing them.

They also demand for allowing a cleaner to drive the truck on the basis of a visit permit. The participants observed that only one driver could not handle the truck in case of any problem.

The authorities of National Logistics Cell (NLC) were also requested to expedite work on construction of the new terminal at Torkham border to ensure speedy passage and clearance of goods-laden trucks.

The meeting was assured of coordination with transit staff on the clearance of pending T-1 documents. The Afghan official informed that more than 5,000 T-1 documents were cleared and work on remaining was in progress.

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