Pakistan to link all Afghan transit imports with a quota

KARACHI: The Ministry of Commerce is considering linking all Afghan Transit Trade with a quota to be accorded to Afghanistan based on estimated requirements of importable goods by the land-locked neighboring country.

As the Transit Trade Agreement signed in December 2010 with Afghanistan is expiring next year, Pakistan’s Ministry of Commerce is drafting a new agreement primarily aimed at safeguarding Pakistan’s interest.

Government is working on various proposals to introduce amendments in the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) to control the pilferages in movement of goods to Afghanistan,

Sources said according to a proposal under consideration, the imports by Afghan importers under Transit Trade agreement would be quota based. The Afghan government would provide their estimated requirements of importable goods and these numbers would be verified by Pakistan consulate in Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s foreign policy is changing, particularly in respect of Afghanistan government. Since, Afghan government favors India; Pakistan is taking measures to safeguard its interest. Afghan Transit Trade has been very harmful for Pakistan’s economy being the primary source of smuggling, and the money made from this dirty business funded terrorists and anti-social elements.

It is a known fact that Afghan imports multiply whenever Pakistan Customs take any action against mis-declaration and increases import values or slaps duties on local imports. These additional imports by Afghan importers are either pilfered during transit or smuggled back into country causing huge economic loss to Pakistan.

Ministry of Commerce has issued instructions to Pakistan Customs for preparing the draft of the new agreement. Work is underway. Directorate of Transit Trade is preparing a proposal regarding the transit routes, examination, check posts, and other Customs related issues. Ministry of Commerce will finalize the proposed agreement.

Under the existing agreement, there are only two items in the negative list — cigarettes and auto parts. “We have proposed several items to be included in that list,” the source said. The items placed under the negative list will not be allowed for import under the agreement.

According to the old Afghanistan transit trade agreement; there was allocation of quota for import of smuggling-prone items under the treaty. With the implementation of the revised pact, Pakistani government has done away with this condition.

It was also known that in the new agreement which will be implemented next year, Pakistan will seek transit access to Central Asian states. Presently, Pakistan allows transit access to Afghan exports to India through Wagah border. In return, Afghanistan will provide transit route to Pakistani products to Central Asian states.

After the revelations by Indian spy Kulbushan Yadav that Pakistan’s economy was being targeted, Pakistan Army stepped forward and launched a crackdown on economic terrorism, smuggling, misdeclaration, under-invoicing and money laundering etc.

It is reported that Army Chief General Qamar Bajwa is personally monitoring the campaign against economic terrorism. Former Army Chief General Raheel Ashraf, and General Bilal Akbar had eliminated the foreign funded terrorism in the country during their time. And now Imran Khan and General Qamar Bajwa have taken up task to root out the economic terrorism.

An official said things were improving silently, adding that corruption on higher levels as well as lower levels had reduced. Reforms are being introduced in Police, Inland Revenue, Pakistan Customs and other departments.

Measures taken by the present government had reduced imports significantly, but the good thing is that revenue on the imports has not declined.

Judiciary is considered the most corrupt institution in Pakistan because of the presence of black sheep within its ranks. Realizing the importance of a free, honest and independent legal system, the intelligence agencies have started collecting details of assets of certain lawyers and judges. Moreover, the decisions of certain judges are also being analyzed.

An official said that Lahore PIC incident was only a show of power and actually a message to the government and Army. Similarly, the judgments regarding General Qamar Bajwa and Pervez Msuharraf are also under criticism due to same reasons.

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