By: Shukria Kohistani
Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) reports about the closure of Wagah Port, the Afghan traders and experts have criticized the Pakistan’s recent move, saying it is not in the interests of both countries.
According to them, Pakistan has always making efforts to create problems for Afghan businessmen.
Shir Ali Tazri, an economist in the connection told The Kabul Times that closure of the Wagah Port is the sign of a new tensions between India and Pakistan, so that whenever political outflow and problems between Pakistan and India takes shape, Pakistan either cuts off airspace with India or block ground routes, including the ports that Afghanistan has trade relations with India.
Blocking the Wagah Port is a great loss for both countries, because they transfer tens of merchandise trucks to India on a daily basis through the port of Wagah, and similarly the transfer of commercial goods to Pakistan and Afghanistan via India, Tazri added.
Meanwhile the Afghan traders say that the political relations of Afghanistan and Pakistan are tense and changing, not only damaging the friendly relations of the two countries, but also inflicting major economic blows on the business community and the economy of both countries.
According to ACCI data, although other alternatives have been considered by the government in recent years for the convenience of traders, but blocking the Wagah route also has a direct impact on the economy of both countries.
Khan Jan Alokozay, deputy head of ACCI in regard said that this move by Pakistan would face the fresh and dried fruit exports with serious challenge.
Alokozay went on to say that it is very dangerous for us we were exporting thousands of tons of fresh and dried fruit to India through the Wagah Port. Now we faced with a big problem and will have a negative impact on our economy, our business and our exports.
Three to five containers of Afghan products are transferred to India daily from the port, he added.
After the conflicts between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, Pakistan has said that Afghanistan will no longer be able to trade to India via Wagah port.
According to Daru Khan, the Chairman of Pakistan Central Chamber of Commerce and Industry only the trucks which is currently in Pakistan can transfer their goods to India, but after that, the port will be closed to Afghan traders.
In 2010, Afghanistan and Pakistan signed the APTA transit agreement, under which Afghan transit vehicles can pass through Pakistani ports and Pakistani vehicles across the Afghan border into Central Asia.
But, Afghan traders have always complained that Pakistan is not committed to APTA agreement.