Afghanistan and Pakistan to the brink of conflict!
Afghanistan Pakistan border disputes continue to hamper trade:
ISLAMABAD: Authorities in Afghanistan said that Afghan products are constantly facing problems while being exported to India through the Eastern border in Pakistan which is called Wagah. This border crossing has been historically used by Afghanistan and Pakistan as a major trade route with India. Pakistan and Afghanistan have seen tensions rise in the last few decades after sharing long cordial relationships. The last few years have seen both countries blaming each other for exporting terrorism to respective borders.
Pakistans Commerce Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ashraf negated such claims and said that no such sanctions are in place. He said that all trade is going as usual “All Afghan products to India through the Wagah border are passing without any problem and there has been no major strategy change”.
The Afghan President’s spokesman during his press conference showed his resentment towards the trade issues and stated that Pakistani officials are continuing secret trade sanctions that have resulted in loss of millions of dollars to Afghanistan. The spokesman also stated that the President himself had noticed the issue and wanted to warn Pakistan that Afghanistan can reciprocate the sanctions implemented by Pakistan and impose a ban on freight transport of their own on Pakistan to the Central Asian countries. Pakistan has seen the Central Asian markets as major trade partners however in order to reach there, the freight trucks are supposed to cross Afghanistan and hence give Afghanistan bargaining power in certain matters.
Last month, the tension in the Chaman area of Balochistan Pakistan had resulted in the closing of the Chaman border and the Torkham border remained closed until the first days of this month. Afghanistan being a landlocked country relies heavily on Pakistan for the transport of certain goods that reach the port of Karachi and from thereon travel to Afghanistan through two border crossings – the Chaman, and Torkham border. Every standoff on the two border crossings results in massive losses for the traders on both side of the border who maintain a living by trading goods with each other.
Afghan presidential spokesman maintained that although most of the goods in the markets of Afghanistan come from Pakistan, the Afghan government has started to consider alternate routes and Afghanistan will soon develop alternate measures so that they do not have to fully rely on Pakistan for supply of goods. Interestingly the trade agreement between the two countries does not contain any legal binding on Pakistan to provide easy access to India through the Wagah border.
Author: Zak Hades – Serbia