Pak-Afghan ink new transit trade pact

Pakistan and Afghanistan have inked a new transit trade agreement that will provide Afghan goods access to India through the Wagah land border route and Karachi and Qasim ports.

Last Updated: Oct 30, 2010, 16:59 PM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan and Afghanistan have
inked a new transit trade agreement that will provide Afghan
goods access to India through the Wagah land border route and
Karachi and Qasim ports.

Under the agreement, Afghan trucks will be allowed to
take goods up to Wagah and the two ports, from where Indian
importers will receive consignments and carry them further
using their own sources of transportation.

However, Pakistan will not allow the Afghan trucks to
carry back Indian goods through its territory.

Pakistan`s Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim and his
Afghan counterpart Anwarul Haq Ahadi signed the agreement
in Kabul on Thursday.

The cabinets of Pakistan and Afghanistan recently
approved the new agreement. The new agreement will replaced
one signed by the two countries in the mid-1960s.

President Asif Ali Zardari today hailed the signing of
the new agreement, saying the pact will boost trade and
contribute to peace and stability in the region.

In a message felicitating his Afghan counterpart Hamid
Karzai on the signing of the Pakistan-Afghanistan Transit
Trade Agreement yesterday, Zardari said the pact would lead to
a "win-win situation for the two countries".

"The agreement was a most welcome development for the
region that would not only boost trade of the two countries
but would also contribute to peace and stability by further
strengthening the relations between the two countries,"
Zardari said.

Economic development is the key to peace and stability in
the region and this agreement will promote development by
creating new vistas of opportunities for people, especially
for those who have been the worst victims of militancy during
recent years, he said.

The pact will give Afghan goods access to India through
the Wagah land border route and Karachi and Qasim ports.

Zardari said every vehicle plying under this agreement
will contribute to "enhancing mutual trust and thereby
strengthen elements of peace through socio-economic
development of the region".

He expressed the hope that traders and the business
communities of the two countries will take maximum advantage
of the pact.

US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan
Richard Holbrooke and President Karzai witnessed the signing.

PTI