Pakistan opens two more transit trade routes with Afghanistan

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Businessmen and local elders attend a ceremony as authorities in Chitral, the country’s northernmost district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, made arrangements to open two transit trade routes with Afghanistan on Tuesday. Picture taken on October 6, 2019. (Photo Courtesy: Chitral Chamber of Commerce and Industry)
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Local authorities in Chitral, the country’s northernmost district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, made arrangements to open two transit trade routes with Afghanistan on Tuesday. Picture taken on October 6, 2019. (Photo Courtesy: Chitral Chamber of Commerce and Industry)
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Businessmen and local elders attend a ceremony as authorities in Chitral, the country’s northernmost district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, made arrangements to open two transit trade routes with Afghanistan on Tuesday. Picture taken on October 6, 2019. (Photo Courtesy: Chitral Chamber of Commerce and Industry)
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Local authorities in Chitral, the country’s northernmost district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, made arrangements to open two transit trade routes with Afghanistan on Tuesday. Picture taken on October 6, 2019. (Photo Courtesy: Chitral Chamber of Commerce and Industry)
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Officials head toward Dorah Pass near Shah Saleem border on their horses to examine arrangements to open transit trade routes with Afghanistan in the country’s Chitral district on October 8, 2019. (Photo Courtesy: Chitral Chamber of Commerce and Industry)
Updated 09 October 2019

Pakistan opens two more transit trade routes with Afghanistan

  • The border crossings in Chitral were shut down in the past due to security challenges in the region
  • The business community in the country's northernmost district hopes the opening of trade routes will increase commercial activities in the area

PESHAWAR: Following a notification by the federal government, authorities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province have made arrangements to open two more transit trade routes with Afghanistan in the country’s northernmost Chitral district, officials and traders said on Wednesday.
According to a notification released on Tuesday, the provincial administration would open transit trade routes, known as Dorah Pass (near Shah Saleem border) and Arandu Pass, in Chitral district to enhance bilateral trade between the two countries.
Talking to Arab News, Tanveer Ahmad, a senior customs officer, said people of the Shah Saleem border areas had been demanding operationalization of the route, adding it would positively impact economic activities in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Expressing satisfaction over the decision, President of Chitral Chamber of Commerce and Industry Sartaj Ahmed Khan said thousands of people from both countries were associated with the business of precious stones and the opening of the border points would give a boost to commercial activities in the region.
“Our traders export and import warm clothes, gemstone, rugs, herbs, wool, dried fruit and other goods,” Khan added.
He expressed optimism that opening of the new routes would increase business activities up to Central Asia due to the geostrategic location of Chitral that shares border with Afghanistan’s Kunar, Badakhshan and Nuristan provinces.
Khan recalled that the two border crossing in Chitral had to be shut down for years owing to security challenges in the region, adding that the area witnessed trade worth billions of rupees in the past.
Bashir Hussain Azad, a leading trader in Chitral, told Arab News that most of the businessmen in the area depended on trade with neighboring Afghanistan, and the government’s decision to open the border at two strategically significant points would bring economic prosperity to thousands of families.
“This is the shortest possible way to Tajikistan. Apart from that, access to China is also easier through these routes. The business community in the area views it as a step taken toward durable development and prosperity,” Khan observed.


Pakistan’s efforts for Afghan peace process lauded globally – FM Qureshi

Updated 33 min 33 sec ago

Pakistan’s efforts for Afghan peace process lauded globally – FM Qureshi

  • Details difficulties faced by Islamabad on the negotiations’ table
  • Says ball is in Kabul’s court now to end decades-old conflict in the country

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Saturday that the US and the international community had commended Pakistan for its role in the Afghan peace process.

“It was difficult to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table; and to convince the world that the problems plaguing Afghanistan could not be resolved by the use of force,” Qureshi said, according to a statement released by the Foreign Office (FO) Saturday.

He added that Pakistan had to strive hard to push for the resumption of peace talks after US President Donald Trump abruptly called off the negotiations, in September last year, following the death of an American soldier in a Taliban-induced attack in Afghanistan.

“It is heartening to see that the US and the Taliban were finally close to signing a peace deal on February 29 after a substantial reduction in violence,” he said.

Qureshi said that during Zalmay Khalilzad’s recent visit to Pakistan, he had warned the US’ special envoy for Afghanistan about elements in the country who were benefiting from the prolonged conflict in Kabul.

In a separate conversation with US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, he had “emphasized on the need for the two countries to strengthen their relationship once again.”

Qureshi noted that ordinary Afghans were yearning for peace after nearly 19 years of war, adding that it was now up to the Afghan elite to work toward making that a reality.

“Either way, Pakistan has played its role in the Afghan peace and reconciliation process and it was now up to the Afghans how they want to deal with the situation,” he said.