Pakistan to initiate transit trade from its land
The agreement calls for all countries to provide such transit for promoting regional trade.
After enforcement of the agreement, possibly by July this year, Pakistan and India would not be able to prevent traders from using their land route.
Some people, especially those who will be responsible for creating infrastructure at the border or maintaining highways, say the agreement may put additional burden on the country’s resources.
Meanwhile, Pakistani Commerce Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan believes the agreement will be beneficial to Pakistan, as it will ensure transit facilities for Pakistani goods through India to Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.
“We will also get market access to neighbouring countries,” he told Dawn. Although extremely beneficial to traders who may use Indian land to export and import goods to and from countries such as Bangladesh and Nepal, it is not clear to what extent this facility will boost trade through that route.
Currently, Pakistan allows land route to Afghanistan for its exports to India, but the same facility is not available to the latter.
“Transit trade between India and Afghanistan through Pakistan is our major red line,” a senior government official told Dawn. After acceding to the agreement, Islamabad has lost freedom to exercise its discretion, he added.
The agreement has also bound member countries to develop infrastructure on borders out of their own resources. The agreement says members are encouraged to make available, where practicable, physically separate infrastructure such as lanes, berths and similar for traffic in transit.
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