KHYBER: Customs authorities said here on Wednesday that government increased the number of export items to Afghanistan from four to 16 in Pakistani currency to enhance quantum of trade with the neighbouring country.
In this connection, a meeting was held at Torkham between Pakistani and Afghan Customs authorities that was also attended by officials of National Logistic Cell, Federal Board of Revenue, members of Pak-Afghan Joint Chamber of Commerce along with border security officials. The Afghan delegation was headed by Naqeebullah, an official of the Afghan Customs.
Giving details of the meeting, Additional Collector Mohammad Tayyab said that his department would recommend to State Bank of Pakistan to relax its newly announced policy of ‘cash-on-counter’ under which the traders were required to present US dollars along with their passports at the time of arrival at the border for purpose of trade.
Official sources said that the Afghan delegation requested for such a relaxation due to a near collapse of the banking system in the neighbouring country after Taliban came into power in August last year and also a weak economy due to international sanctions.
They said that the Afghan delegation also complained about the perpetual delay in clearance of loaded vehicles at the Pakistan side due to lengthy process of checking at several places by different law enforcement agencies which was a constant cause of traffic congestion at the border point.
The Pakistani officials, they said, assured the Afghan delegation that four checking teams comprising all the law enforcement agencies would immediately be deployed at the crossing point to address the issue of delay in checking of loaded vehicles.
Sources said that the Afghan side too was told to devise a mechanism on their side of the border to control smuggling of narcotics and other contraband items. “The vehicle checked at the Afghan side should be affixed a tag or a sticker and that particular vehicle will not be stopped for checking on the Pakistan side,” said officials.
Regarding the Afghan officials’ request for allowing conductor/helper along with a driver to cross over to Pakistan without legal travel documents, they were told that necessary permission had already been granted by the quarters concerned.
Published in Dawn, January 20th, 2022
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