Source: News Bharati English12 Sep 2016 12:28:32
Islamabad, September 12: The Pakistan authorities made a clarification on Sunday that Pakistan has not stopped Afghan traders from moving products to India through the Wagah border. This clarification came following the warning Afghan President Ashraf Ghani gave to Islamabad that it should open the land border or lose transit route to Central Asia.
The warnings from both the nations created stir between the trade ties between Afghan and Pakistan where India got involved because of its trade ties along its Wagah border. However, after the Afghan President issued a warning, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria told the reporters, “Pakistan is fulfilling its commitment to the Afghan people by providing them a trade transit facility.”
Talking about the bilateral agreement between Pakistan and Afghanistan, he gave a clarification saying that Islamabad’s bilateral agreement with Kabul, Afghanistan could export goods through Pakistan but Indian goods could not be imported into Afghanistan through Pakistan. The spokesperson further asserted that Afghan leader was practically seeking concession for India as Afghan trucks were already allowed to deliver their goods to India. However, as per the existing arrangement, they were not allowed to carry back Indian goods. “Giving concession to India is unlikely at this stage. Connectivity through Wagah is still far away” he added.
Meanwhile, Zakaria said, “The bilateral transit trade agreement APTTA does not involve transit to and from India [but] Pakistan continues to allow transit of Afghan fruit to India through Wagah as a special gesture.” Also, the Pakistani official called the statement as a political stunt. He said, “It’s not new. He (Ghani) gave a similar statement last year as well during his visit to India and is again scheduled to travel to Delhi next week September 14.” According to the reports, Pakistan is considering other routes as well for reaching Tajikistan, bypassing the war-ravaged Afghanistan.
Earlier, Afghanistan had warned that it would shut down Afghan transit route for Pakistani exports to Central Asia if Pakistan did not allow Afghan traders to use Lahore's Wagah border for trade with India. The statement came following Pakistan's decision to install a new mechanism at Torkham border that would bound every Afghan to carry valid travelling document for crossing the border.