The Afghanistan-Pakistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry has suggested the Pakistani government issue truck drivers of both countries a special pass.
The suggestion was made after the Pakistan’s interim government required Afghan truck drivers to have visas to drive into Pakistan, a decision which was followed by the Afghan side also imposing restrictions and over 10 days passed with traffic stopped.
The director of the chamber said that the problems will inflict heavy financial losses on businesspeople of both countries if not resolved.
“Our passing was closed for ten days which created many problems,” said Zia ul-haq Sarhadi, director of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“The election of Pakistan will end by the 31st of February. The problem of current trucks should be addressed. The Islamic Emirate and the Ministries of Commerce and Transport of Afghanistan should solve the issue beforehand so that businesspeople do not incur losses,” said Khan Jan Alokozay, director of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Joint Chamber of Commerce in Afghanistan.
The Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Investment on the other hand said that there should be bilateral facilities in trade between the two countries as the majority of Afghanistan’s trade is with Pakistan.
“We have created all facilities for trade and transit of Afghanistan, we ask the same from Pakistan,” said the chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Investment, Mohammad Yunus Momand.
In the meantime, Afghan businesspeople and traders suggest that Afghanistan should increase its business relations with other countries as well.
“We call on the Minstry of Industry and Commerce to talk with the Pakistan’s government to stop the potential emergence of these problems. We call on the ministry to activate aerial corridors and also to consider alternatives to Pakistan and Pakistan's transit routes,” an Afghan businessman, Zalmay Azimi, said.
Earlier, the Torkham crossing in eastern Afghanistan remained closed for over ten days when Pakistani border guards asked Afghan truck drivers for visas. The closure reportedly cost up to $100,000 per day for Afghan businesspeople.