In a major development, Afghanistan has assured Pakistan of giving complete access to the landlocked Central Asian States, by delinking it from her earlier condition of a reciprocal arrangement for access to India, a highly informed source has told Pakistan Today.
The source said at the recently held Afghanistan and Pakistan Transit Trade Coordination Authority (APTTCA) meeting it was decided that the provisions of international transit agreement, TIR convention, of which both states are signatories, will be adopted to the maximum extent possible in Afghanistan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA).
In this connection Afghanistan will share a draft text of the amended APTTA with Pakistan by mid-March and draft amendments will be deliberated in APTTCA meeting to be held in the last week of March in Kabul.
If the matters are settled, the source said then a pilot run of Pakistani trucks from Chaman and Torkham carrying Pakistani export goods to Sher Khan Bander at Tajikistan’s border with Afghanistan will take place. Trucks will be allowed to carry back Tajik and Central Asian exports. A similar test run for Afghan trucks up to Wagha border will be held.
It is important to mention, Tajikistan had shown interest to join APTTA soon after it’s signing in 2010. Pakistan had formally proposed inclusion of Tajikistan in APTTA in 2014. However, Afghanistan had linked it with the inclusion of India in the pact.
The source said that it was pointed out to Afghanistan that access to central Asian states was vital to promote regional trade. Afghanistan will be the main beneficiary becoming bridge between Central and South Asia. It was also pointed out that if access was not granted then Pakistan will seek access through China.
Pakistan joined TIR convention last year, as the government wanted to promote regional trade for economic growth. A Pakistani official team is already on the visit to Turkey to adjust its customs rules and regulations to implement TIR.