KABUL (SW) – Pakistan has imposed restrictions on trade with Afghanistan and has asked the drivers of Afghan trucks to pass through Pakistan only with a passport and a valid visa.
Following the imposition of this restriction, more than 3000 vehicles carrying Afghan commercial goods have been stopped in Pakistan, and from today Tuesday onwards, the drivers of these vehicles, who were previously allowed to go to Peshawar based on the agreement between Pakistan and Afghanistan, cannot enter the territory of Pakistan without a visa.
Shahzad Mir, one of the Afghan truck drivers at the Torkham crossing, worried about Pakistan’s decision, told Salam Watandar: “Before, we used to go to Pakistan without a visa, but now they forced us to get visas and passports, this makes us face a lot of problems. We ask the government to cooperate with us in this matter.”
Shakur, another Afghan truck driver at the Torkham crossing, is also worried about Pakistan’s decision: “Now they are asking us for passports and visas, and this has caused us a lot of problems.”
Meanwhile, the officials of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment also express their concern about the conditions and restrictions imposed by Pakistan on Afghan businessmen.
Khanjan AAalkoay, a member of the board of directors of this chamber, says: “Firstly, one person is not given a visa in a few months, and secondly, it is the time of our fresh fruit and exports, the problems are very serious. We mentioned these problems many times and demanded a solution. But it has not been resolved yet.”
On the other hand, Abdul Nasir Rashtia, an expert on economic issues, considers Pakistan’s pressures on the trade and transit process with Afghanistan as detrimental to the trade between the two countries.
He adds: “Unfortunately, Pakistanis see all issues from a political point of view. Whenever political relations are strained, they create border problems. Undoubtedly, not allowing Afghan drivers without a visa will reduce trade between Afghanistan and Pakistan and force Afghanistan to think about alternative ways.”
However, the acting government of the Islamic Emirate assures the merchants and truck drivers of Afghanistan of the efforts to solve the restrictions imposed by the government of Pakistan on the export and import of Afghanistan.
Zabihullah Mujahid, the spokesman of the caretaker government of the Islamic Emirate, says that contacts have been made with Pakistan to solve this problem. He also talks about the focus of this government on Pakistan’s alternative way to transfer Afghanistan’s commercial goods.
The caretaker government’s spokesperson adds: “Until now, Pakistan has promised that these problems will be solved and we are waiting. Afghanistan is trying to have alternative ways for trade.”
Despite these problems, Afghanistan has not yet managed to use another route, such as the Chabahar route, to transport commercial goods to India and South Asia, apart from Pakistan.