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    Pakistan asked to compensate Afghan traders

    KABUL (PAN): Afghan traders suffered a loss of $500 million (afghanis 24,620 million) over the past 18 months because of the Pakistan government's undue restrictions, an official of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) claimed on Saturday.

    Most of transit vehicles were stopped in Pakistan, where roads were damaged by heavy flooding a Pakistani transport company failed to ship Afghan businessmen's merchandise, the ACCI deputy head, Khan Jan Alokozay, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

    Pakistani officials again halted Afghan traders' vehicles at the Torkham border few days back, after briefly allowing them to cross into the landlocked country. Almost 5,000 vehicles have been stranded across the Durand Line for the past two weeks.

    Afghan businessmen were illegally fined $90 million (afghanis 4431 million) for delays in transporting the goods, he alleged, explaining the holdup had resulted from natural disasters. "Pakistan must compensate us for the $500 million loss," he demanded.   

    There was no doubt the fact that Afghan entrepreneurs had suffered losses, but he was unable to put an exact figure on them, said a Ministry of Finance spokesman, Waheedullah Ghazikhel.

    Senator Haji Ghulam Ali, who also heads the Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, acknowledged there were still some problems with the transit trade agreement, which caused losses to Afghan traders.

    "If the issue had been solved in the past, there would have been no losses today," he said, accusing the government in Islamabad of not paying due attention to the problem. They had repeatedly requested the relevant quarters to deal with the problems, he concluded.