Pakistani trade lobby protests blockade by Imran Khan`s party
Peshawar: The Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry today expressed concern over the blockade of Afghan transit trade and cargo containers by cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan`s party.
Usman Bashir Bilour, vice president of the chamber, said exports and transit trade had almost come to a standstill because of the blockade of NATO supplies to Afghanistan by workers of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf party.
Breaking of seals on cargo containers by workers of the party is having a "negative impact" on trade between the two neighboring countries, he said in a statement.
The Tehrik-e-Insaf, which rules the northwestern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, launched the blockade to protest a recent US drone strike that killed six persons, including three commanders of the Haqqani terror network.
Bilour said the provincial government should depute its officials at toll plazas to ensure safe and uninterrupted movement of containers other than NATO trucks to Afghanistan.
The government should differentiate between commercial and NATO supplies, and obstacles to the smooth movement of commercial cargo due to the protest should be removed, he added.
Following a call by Imran Khan, Tehrik-e-Insaf workers blocked the movement of NATO trucks to and from Afghanistan. They also indulged in violence and beat up some truck drivers.
The protest entered its seventh day today. Bilour said that at a time when the federal government was facing an uphill task in reviving the national economy, industrial and trade activities in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa were almost nil.
A majority of exports to Afghanistan consist of edible and other goods and the stoppage of cargo was an injustice with the people of the neighbouring country, he said.
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