Afghan transit trade

KARACHI: This is with reference to the news item “360,000 containers never reached: Suddle” in your issue of February 24. It is well-known that the rampant smuggling of goods into the country of Afghan transit goods has wrecked Pakistan’s manufacturing sector. The Afghan Transit Trade Agreement, which was due to come into force last month, is being delayed on one pretext or the other, the latest being the Afghan government’s objection to deposit bank guarantees with Pakistan Customs.
This is despite the fact that Afghanistan itself keeps 110 per cent value of the goods exported by Pakistanis to Central Asian countries which transit through Afghanistan. So until the agreement is implemented, Pakistan should ask Afghan importers to deposit 110 per cent of the value of their goods with our Customs. And each container should be scanned and inspected thoroughly before it is allowed to proceed to Afghanistan.

Shakir Lakhani
Published in The Express Tribune, February 27th, 2011.