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Trade with Pakistan through Ghulam Khan port halves

30 Mar 2024 - 17:32
30 Mar 2024 - 17:32

KHOST CITY (Pajhwok): Trade between Afghanistan and Pakistan through the Ghulam Khan road has decreased by 50 percent, officials in southeastern Khost province say.

Traders and economic analysts say Pakistan has increased tax on goods Afghan traders bring to their country through Karachi port, citing it the main reason behind the decreased trade on this route.

They say Afghan businessmen have turned to Chabahar and other Iranian ports instead of Karachi to import commercial goods to the country.

Nawab Amirzai, head of Khost Chamber of Commerce and Industry, says that Afghanistan entered a transit agreement with Pakistan in 1965.

The Afghanistan Transit Trade Agreement (ATTA) was signed in 1965 between Pakistan and Afghanistan to facilitate the transit of goods exported from and imported to Afghanistan using the Pakistani port of Karachi.

The agreement was renewed in 2010 as Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA).

Amirzai told Pajhwok despite the fact that Pakistan did not remain committed to the agreement and used all transit routes including Ghulam Khan as political tool.

“Pakistan has never treated us according to international laws and transit principles, but has created hardships. Ports of Afghanistan and Pakistan should be delinked to politics.”

He said due to these problems, trade through Ghulam Bandar had decreased by 50 percent compared to the past.

For example, he said, earlier 300 trucks would ply the Ghulam Khan route daily, but now their number had reduced to about 150.

Ghulam Khan route is 461 kilometers closer to Karachi than Torkham and therefore traders insist on declaring it official transit route.

Khalid Shakir, an economic analyst and professor of economics at Sheikh Zayed University, said the Ghulam Khan Road if declared official transit route, would help strength Afghanistan’s economy.

“Ghulam Khan is one of the most important ports in Afghanistan and is the second closest port after Spin Boldak and is very efficient in terms of transit for Afghanistan. The economic value and importance of this port is that the prices of goods will drop on both sides of the Durand Line and there will be more hotels, other entertainment places and people’s economy will improve with it”.

In addition to the decrease in trade activity, patients have also stopped going to Pakistan for treatment via Ghulam Khan road.

Fida Mohammad, a resident of Khost, told Pajhwok that people had been facing problems since Pakistan closed the Ghulam Khan road.

He said: “Patients who cannot be treated in Khost were previously sent to Peshawar, but now the Ghulam Khan road has been closed by Pakistan.”

Another resident of Khost, Haji Maqdarullah, said: “Our request to the authorities is that this road should be kept open all times because there are many patients who cannot be treated here.

Haji Abdul Hadi Abrar, Director of Khost Customs, said all necessary facilities had been provided to traders on Ghulam Khan Road.

He told Pajhwok if the Ghulam Khan road was declared an official transit route, they were fully prepared for it and there was no obstacle.

He said they had increased staff members by 40 percent and had no problem in this regard.

Recently, a delegation led by Pakistan’s deputy minister of commerce Mohammad Khurram Agha met Afghan officials in Kabul and promised to create facilities for Afghan traders in shifting their goods from international containers to local containers at Karach port.


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