The Pakistan Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI) on Wednesday said up to 4,000 containers belonging to Afghan businessmen were still stranded in Pakistan’s port city of Karachi two weeks after the Torkham and Chaman crossings were reopened.
The PAJCCI said that businesses are charged $100 USD a day for every container at the port.
This comes after Pakistan closed its gates for a month – reopening them only two weeks ago.
The move cost traders on both sides of the Durand Line millions of dollars in losses and heavily impacted trade between the two countries.
“There are a lot of problems, I don’t understand why Pakistan is acting in this manner despite that it knows both countries will be affected by these problems,” said Ahmadullah Afghan, chairman of PAJCCI.
“We have taken necessary action in this respect and will raise it at the WTO(World Trade Organization) meeting which is scheduled for April 6,” said Rasa.
The Afghan business community meanwhile, accused Pakistan of deliberately stopping Afghan cargo convoys.
PAJCCI said since the gates have reopened only 30 trucks are coming into Afghanistan via Torkham crossing a day – compared to at least 200 a day in the past.
Each truck has to pay a levy of almost 30,000 Pakistani rupees, the chamber said.
Amid concerns over the financial implications of border disputes, the Afghan Minister of Economy Humayoun Rasa has said that a bilateral meeting between the two countries is expected soon to address the problems.
“Still our cargo is being stopped in Karachi and Torkham, it is amazing that government is not taking action about this issue,” said Ahmad Shah, a member of PAJCCI.
In February Pakistan announced the closure of its Torkham and Chaman gates to Afghanistan, resulting in the loss of millions of dollars in trade between the two countries.
But after a month Pakistan reopened the crossings. However, the business community in both countries continues to suffer.