Pakistan road blockade irks Afghan traders
KABUL (PAN): Afghan officials have complained to Pakistani business leaders regarding the frequent closure of the land route through northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa due to protests and insecurity, a report said on Monday.
A 21-member team of Pakistani traders paid a three-day visit to Kabul last week to attend the annual meeting of the Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The delegates also held talks with Vice-President Karim Khalili, Commerce Minister Kargar, Customs Director Gul Bacha and private businessmen.
Zahidullah Shinwari, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Commerce and Industry president, was part of the visiting team. The Afghans were unhappy with road blockades in the guise of protests against US drone strike in the tribal region, he told a Pakistani newspaper.
"They told us in plain words that Pakistan is no more their first option for bilateral and transit trade," Dawn quoted Shinwari as saying. The disruption of transporting supplies to the landlocked country caused traders huge losses, he added.
Afghan businessmen and officials expressed displeasure over the ongoing road blockade in Peshawar, confirmed Ziaul Haq Sarhadi, a director of the joint chamber. "They complained the road blockade has proved a last nail for the normal trade, adding to their costs of doing business with or via Pakistan."
The Afghans also raised the issue of delays in clearance of their transit trade items in the port city of Karachi, a practice that caused them Rs200,000 to Rs250,000 in additional and prompted them to divert their transit business to Iran.
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