The Speaker the National Assembly Asad Qaiser said that in order to develop the country’s economy and reduce the trade deficit, it is necessary to increase the country’s imports. Stressing that lasting peace in Afghanistan is essential for the development and prosperity of the region, he said that peace and stability in Afghanistan would create opportunities to increase exports to Central Asian countries. He expressed these views while presiding over the meeting of the Executive Committee of the Pak-Afghan Friendship Group at the Parliament House.
The Speaker said that Afghanistan is a neighbor of Pakistan and the interests of both the countries are intertwined. He said that the role of border management in Pak-Afghan trade and transit trade was of utmost importance. He said that The executive committee of Pak-Afghan Friendship Group’s has played commendable role in removal of barriers in Afghan transit trade and increasing bilateral trade. He added that a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Pak-Afghan Friendship Group would be convened every week and issues related to Pak-Afghan relations and trade would be discussed in the House to develop the consensus of all political parties on trade and transit trade with Afghanistan.
FATA and Afghanistan have badly affected by the war which has caused a lot of problems there. He directed the concerned authorities to expedite the scanning of containers and customs clearance at the Pak-Afghan borders. He said that due to delay in slow scanning and customs clearance of the containers at the border traders faced various problems , including damage to their merchandise.
The committee was informed that the gate pass requirement for Afghan citizens in addition to valid visa for entering into Pakistan has been removed. The committee directed the Board of Investment to take steps to establish a special economic zone along the Afghan border. Officials of Kpk transport department has told the committee that on the direction of committee a summary has been submitted to Chief Secretary for the resumption of bus service between Pakistan and Afghanistan and process of resumption will be started as soon as possible after the approval of summary .
The meeting was attended by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Muhammad Shehzad Arbab, Member National Assembly Muhammad Yaqub Sheikh, Member National Assembly Mohsin Dawar, senior officials of Ministry of Interior, Commerce, Customs, Board of Investment, FBR, State Bank of Pakistan and PIA ,Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, Home Department Khyber Pakhtunkhwa