Monday, December 21, 2009

Islamabad should dump “transit trade deal” with Afghanistan

The US is forcing and chaperoning the transit trade deal with Afghanistan. According to the deal Tata trucks will rumble from Delhi through Kabul and then on to Central Asia. At its best, Indian goods will compete with Pakistani goods in Kabul, Dushambe, Ferghana and beyond. At its worst, Delhi will be able to send arms and equipment to the mercenaries that cause murder and mayhem in Pakistan.

All around, the transit trade deal is a bad deal for Pakistan, and Islamabad should never have agreed to it. The old agreement has worked for the past six decades. Let it stay in place.

Military vehicles are seen standing in gridlock along the Chaman Pakistan-Afghanistan border. -Reuters File Photo

KABUL: The final round of technical level talks between Pakistan-Afghanistan for new transit trade agreement were attempted as Pakistan wants assurance that the new agreement would not be misused for terror financing, drug trafficking and arms trade.

The two sides couldn’t reach on an agreement in the three day round and decided to hold another session in early January. 
It was the final round of technical level talks between Pakistan and Afghanistan to finalize the modalities of the Pak-Afghan Transit Trade Agreement.

But the US monitored talks hit snags after Islamabad’s proposal of attaching tough security related strings.

Afghanistan wants Pakistan to allow Afghan trucks to transport goods through Pakistan’s territory from Chaman and Torkhum border to Wagha border and Karachi and Gawadar port without being unloaded and checked.

Whereas Pakistan wants authority to inspect the trucks so that any illegal goods couldn’t be transport.

Pakistan also wants to know that whether the trucks would return empty from Wagha border or would have something load in them. -DawnNews 

This transit trade agreement is a backhanded attempt to give access to Bharat. It will allow Bharati goods to flood Kabul. This transit deal is bad for business, bad for trade, and bad for Pakistani foreign policy.

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