Pakistan, Afghan to grant six-month visas to truck drivers to boost bilateral trade

ISLAMABAD: In a move to promote trade activities on the trade route between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the two countries are going to grant a six month visa to truck drivers.

This was informed by Federal Minister of Commerce Naveed Qamar while talking to the media in Islamabad on Saturday.

He claimed that the six months visa will be given to truck drivers under the Pakistan-Afghanistan trade agreement. Under the agreed terms, both countries will give six-month visas to each other’s truck drivers so they can easily move across the borders without any hindrance.

The resolution of visa issues, according to him, would facilitate smooth delivery of goods in both countries.

The visa facility would not only be available for drivers in Afghanistan and Pakistan but they would also avail the facility till Uzbekistan. For extending the facility to Uzbekistan, an agreement would be signed among the three countries, the minister claimed. 

In reply to a query, Naveed Qamar said though there is also a demand to allow trucks to cross Wagha border with India but under the present level of ties between Pakistan and India, the same is not possible.

The outstanding issues between the two neighbours could be resolved through dialogue. Naveed Qamar had earlier informed that Pakistan has traditionally depended on the export markets of the Middle East, United States and European Union (EU). However, Central Asian states offer a big potential for exports, which remains an untapped market for Pakistan.

He stated that the government’s vision is to make Pakistan a trade, transit and shipment hub, ensuring connectivity with Afghanistan and beyond. In this regard, Pakistan has signed a transit trade agreement with Uzbekistan and is negotiating another agreement with Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.

Pakistan has recently signed a transit trade agreement with Uzbekistan, and is negotiating further transit trade agreements with Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.

As per details bilateral trade between Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan remained at $ 4.27 million during fiscal year 2021-22 which does not reflect the true potential of trade between the two countries.

Pak-Kyrgyz Trade and Investment Forum was held from 19th to 20th April 2022 in Islamabad and on 22nd April in Lahore. The draft of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on establishment of the Joint Working Group has been shared with Kyrgyz republic and their response is being awaited.

Ghulam Abbas
The writer is a member of the staff at the Islamabad Bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]

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