Zakhilwal hopes Pakistan to honour pledges
Zakhilwal, who visited Islamabad as part of a high-level delegation accompanying President Hamid Karzai, signed two agreements with his Pakistani counterpart Ishaq Dar.
The accords pertaining to the promotion of trade and strengthening economic relations were inked as President Karzai and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif looked on.
During the visit, Zakhiwal told Pajhwok Afghan News Dar had assured him all incomplete projects Pakistan had initiated in Afghanistan would be completed.
Dar promised launching work on the second lane of Torkham-Jalalabad road in the next two weeks, Zakhilwal said, adding Pakistan had agreed to extend the Lahore-Peshawar motorway to Kabul.
Both sides agreed to accelerate efforts at importing electricity from Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan via Afghanistan to Pakistan, the minister said.
Of the total 1300 megawatts of electricity to be imported to Pakistan, Afghanistan would use 300MW, he said, adding they had agreed in principle on moving toward joint management of common rivers, starting with the construction of a hydropower project on Kunar River.
He said the proposed hydropower project would have the potential to produce 1500MW of electricity and part of it would be sold to Pakistan that would provide technical, financial and “political” support for the scheme.
He said Dar vowed to resolve problems facing Afghan traders in Pakistan as soon as possible and write off taxes on Afghan goods transported to India through the Wagah border and annul the duty on transit trade imposed by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government.
Zakhilwal said if Islamabad resolved the problems facing Afghan traders, Kabul would provide more facilities to Pakistani traders for access to central Asian countries.
Another agreement reached between the two sides is about the construction of a 170-kilometre railroad between Peshawar and Jalalabad and a similar track between Chaman and Kandahar.
Pakistan would make operational a kidney centre the country had established in Jalalabad, said the minister, who believed the Pakistanis were sincere in their pledges this time around.
He believed practical steps on all the agreed projects would be initiated in September and there would be a follow-up meeting in October to assess the schemes.
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