A goodwill gesture: Pakistan to include Afghanistan into CPEC
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2015-11-26 10:36:27

A goodwill gesture: Pakistan to include Afghanistan into CPEC

pakafg

 

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has stressed the need for ensuring implementation of decisions taken between Pakistan and Afghanistan for betterment of both the countries. He was addressing Joint Economic Commission meeting in Islamabad on Monday. Finance Minister said most of the decisions taken during the last Joint Economic Commission and during the visit of Afghan Pesident, have been implemented. However, he said, there are some decisions that need to be implemented on fast track. Finance Minister said serious efforts are needed to achieve the declared trade volume of five billion dollars till 2017. He said facilitation is issuance of visas to businessmen is necessary for promotion of trade between the two countries. Ishaq Dar said there is progress on Pak-Afghan Transit Trade. He said Pakistan is waiting Afghan response of Preferential Trade Agreement. He urged the Afghan side to expedite the process of activation of Joint Business Council so that its meeting will be held at the earliest. He said it will help facilitate investors of both the countries in a big way. Meanwhile Pakistan has turned down an Afghan proposal for a throughway to India via Wagah border, showing that mutual distrust was holding back progress on key trade talks between the two neighbours. Apart from this major agreements include expanding the CPEC to Afghanistan by building a road link between Gwadar, Khuzdar and Herat, and an agreement to import 2,000MW of electricity from Turkmenistan.
With respect to the second of these agreements, Afghanistan has shown great goodwill by refusing to charge a transit fee for electricity that Pakistan imports from Central Asian states via the CASA-1000 project and agreeing to share 150MW of electricity with Pakistan from Afghanistan’s share. This is slowly pushing the shared vision agreed between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani forward. The aims of the two countries are clear. Landlocked Afghanistan wants access to Pakistan’s warm waters and the broader South Asian region, while Pakistan is interesting in building direct links with Central Asian states to increase the volume of economic activity with them. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has made the bold proposal of easing visa requirements for businessmen traveling between the two countries. This has the potential of being part of the solution to the long-term problem of goods smuggling via the porous border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The countries also set an ambitious target of increasing their trade volume from around $2 billion to $5 billion by the end of 2017. If the target is met, the two countries will be able to firmly establish their need for peace and stability in each other. Logically, an unstable Pakistan would not be in Afghanistan’s interest if over 1,000MW of its electricity are coming from across the border, nor would an unstable Pakistan suit Afghanistan if the latter’s goods are passing through our country. With a number of rail and road links also planned, co-dependence between the two neighbours could become a reality in the short-term future. This can only bode well for regional prosperity.

pk.shafaqna.com

 

Categories:   Pakistan ، Business ،
Tags:   pakistan ، CPEC ، Afghanistan ، Ishaq Dar ،
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