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Don’t mix business and politics, Islamabad urged

Don’t mix business and politics, Islamabad urged

Mar 14, 2017 - 09:38

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Pakistani and Afghan business representatives have called for the immediate reopening of Torkham and Chaman border crossings.

The closure was hurting economic and social relations between the neighbours and resulting in massive financial losses and trust deficit, they said.

After a spate of terrorist attacks that killed more than 100 people in Pakistaninfo-icon last month, Islamabad unilaterally blocked the border. It alleged the attacks were planned in Afghanistaninfo-icon.

On Monday, a delegation of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) met with representatives of the Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI).

The six-member team also held talks with the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) on the early restoration of bilateral and transit trade.

In a statement, the joint team noted with concern the border closure for five times during the last eight months since June 2016. Both sides cited figures of losses incurred by the business communities.

Ahmad Shah Yarzada, a member of ACCI, said: “On behalf of the Afghan business community, let me affirm we are entirely in favor of doing business with Pakistan.”

However, he added, the abrupt closing of the Durand Lineinfo-icon by Pakistan left Afghanistan looking towards other countries that were equally willing to engage in trade with the landlocked nation.

Both sides agreed to call on Pakistan to immediately reopen the border for the clearance of stranded cargo from ports to borders.  Both sides reiterated the significance of security and supported all measures their respective governments may take to ensure the same.

But such steps must not hurt the economic and social ties across the border. Around, 3,000 cargo containers in Peshawar and 2,000 near the Chaman border are unable to pass due to border closure.

Muhammad Zuhair Motiwala, chairman of PAJCCI, insisted on segregation of business and politics, saying there were no differences between the business communities of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The dialogue was organised by the Islamabad-based Center for Research and Security Studies in partnership with the Kabul-based Womeninfo-icon, Peace and Security organisation.

mud

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