PAJCCI asks Pakistan to avail benefits from Afghanistan

Staff Reporter

Co-Chairman Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI), Khan Jan Alokozai has said that in the changed scenario in Afghanistan, Pakistan has an advantage to come forward and resolve problems aggressively to strengthen ties.

According to a press release issued here by PAJCCI, these views were expressed by Khan Jan Alokozai while opening dialogue at Torkhem meeting held in Custom Office during a week long visit of Afghan businessmen to Pakistan concluded here the other day.

Co-Chairman PAJCCI appreciated GoP for facilitating Afghan Delegation and showing keen interest in resolving the issues in hand.

Alokozai added that in the past 20 years, the diplomatic relation between two countries hadn’t been good, but now, in the new administration, Pakistan has an advantage to come forward and resolve problems aggressively to strengthen ties.

He reiterated that Pakistan should study and adopt trade policies of Uzbekiztan and Iran with Aghanistan, which can be helpful and effective for Pakistan to smooth trade.

He suggested that just like these two countries, we should also have 20 member committee at border, including PAJCCI directors from both the sides representing the business community, custom officials, border officials, commercial consulates and relevant officials, which can help facilitate immediate resolution or clarification of the matters arising in real-time.

He said that a specific card be issued to the representatives of business members in this committee so that they can navigate in the border areas till specific points and engage in resolution of routine issues.

He specified that by dividing the load across several borders (Ghulam Khan, Angoor Ada, Kharlachi), Torkham congestion can be controlled.

Alokozai raised issues pertinent to internet connectivity at Ghulam Khan, lack of flour and
cooking oil in Afghanistan having devastating effects, ease of travel, especially for pedestrians and traders and scanning issues by NLC at the borders.

He requested to allow shifting load of empty containers from Torkham to other border crossing areas.

Co-Chairman PAJCCI also thanked Pakistan for ensuring visa on arrival for Afghanistan and added
that it will significantly support the ties.
Vice President PAJCCI, Zia-ul-Haq requested that NLC be regulated as their increasing prices are affecting the cost of doing business.

He mentioned that they have increased charges without prior intimation and their scanners are ineffective causing congestion.

Zia also demanded provision of One Custom facility at those border stations where Weebok was not performing well due to lack of internet facility.

He also deplored that no PTCL service was available at Ghulam Khan border, causing inconvenience to businessmen. However, he added, Custom Department has recently made arrangements for PTCL services.

Director Transit Trade Karachi, Habib Ahmed, while chairing the session said that Custom was fully aware of the problems occurring at borders and under the leadership of DG Transit Imtiaz Shaikh, immediate resolutions are brought in place.

He elaborated that DG has taken important notes in the last meeting of PAJCCI and already major steps are in progress in order to facilitate the process.

At the Karachi port, it was taking 13 days for clearance and 100% goods were being manually assessed, but now, it would be done on automated system which would eliminate the need of manual assessment.

He also informed participants of the meeting that insurance guarantee was no more required for every consignment coming from Afghanistan, rather revolving guarantees are in place.

5% examination has been eliminated only 20% scanning was done and examination would be done on ambiguous consignments only.

He acknowledged that perishable items must be given priority and the clearance of empty containers must be done on an immediate basis to resolve congestion.

Chairman PAJCCI Zubair Motiwala applauded the Government of Pakistan’s decision to allow all Afghan students with valid admissions and study visas in Pakistan to travel via Torkham and resume their academics.

He further urged both the Governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan to revisit APTTA by engaging business communities from the sides and finalize the draft proposal pending since long, as this is the right time for rebuilding ties and take joint corrective measures for enhancing socio-economic relationship which would significantly facilitate Pakistan’s access to CARs also.

Motiwala reiterated the request from Government of Pakistan to facilitate businesses at this fragile time by extending the deadlines of PSW application and payments in dollars till appropriate infrastructure was resumed in Afghanistan, else it would aggravate humanitarian crisis severely.

The meeting was attended by private sector from both sides, custom and NLC officials. Officials who attended the meeting included Additional Directer Transit, Wajid Zaman, Additional Collector Custom, Muhmmad Tayyab, Deputy Director Transit Ghulam Khan, Amanat Khan, Deputy Director Transit Torkhem, Asfandyar.

While businessmen from Pakistan included Faiz Muhammad, Khalid Shezad, Imtiaz Ahmad, Shuja Muhammad and Shahid Hussain.

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