By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: Afghanistan Chambers Federation says that trade between Afghanistan and Pakistan will significantly drop by the end of this year due to extortion, transit issues and recent closure of crossing points between the two neighboring countries.
The institution has also predicted this year’s Afghanistan-Pakistan trade to be less than $1 billion. “This year, our trade relations with Pakistan have been affected massively compared to the past,” according to ACF deputy chief Khan Jan Alokozai. He also said that at least 900 trucks are traveling to Pakistan and from there to Afghanistan daily while it was at least 2,000 last year.
“The trucks that are coming from Pakistan are not searched. Up to 200 vehicles are entering Afghanistan from Pakistan per hour, but when the vehicles unload and go back to Pakistan, it takes up to 40 minutes for them to enter Pakistan due to security procedures (by Pakistani officials),” he added.
The Ministry of Industry and Commerce vowed to address the problems through talks with Pakistani officials.
Pakistan has been a key trade partner for Afghanistan in recent years with an annual trade volume of around $2 billion.
This comes as Pakistan’’s special envoy for Afghanistan Mohammad Sadiq said in a tweet on Friday that 19,000 multiple entry visas were issued to Afghans in the last five days.
This follows a trip of Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, to Pakistan.
“The new visa regime for Afghan citizens is now enforced. Under this regime long term multiple visas are being issued to all categories of Afghan citizens including visitors, students, businessmen, investors and patients,” Sadiq added.
The Pakistani embassy in Kabul said in a statement on Saturday, that the new conditions have been approved in six cases for Pakistani visa applicants to Afghan nationals.
A one-year visit and tourism visa with multiple entries is provided for 60 days of stay at each visit, according to the statement. The statement adds, individuals with serious illnesses such as injuries, fractures of bones and limbs, sick children, and pregnant women who have only one companion, can travel without a visa for three months upon arrival in the Torkham border terminal.
Applicants visiting family members will be given a Five-year visa with multiple entries and One year of stay is considered for the Afghan nationals who have Pakistani spouse and children.
The statement indicates, 5-year business visa with multiple entries will be issued to Afghan businessmen who have invested above and 50 million rupees in Pakistan and 2-3 years visa for those who have invested less than 20 to 50 million rupees in the country.
The statement also included Visa entry for educational purposes is in accordance with the duration of the study program with multiple entries at school, college, and university level.
Work Visa duration is considered for one year, coordinated and recommended by the Pakistan Investment Board.