WION Islamabad, Islamabad Capital Territory, Pakistan
Sep 11, 2016, 07.45 AM
Pakistan has rejected the demand voiced by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani that India be made a party to its transit trade pact with Kabul. The pact will allow Afghanistan to export Indian goods through the Wagah border.
Pakistan has denied Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's accusations that it has closed its Wagah port for the country's trade with India, clarifying that it is only opposed to the "transit of Indian goods to Afghanistan through its border".
"Pakistan is fulfilling its commitment to the Afghan people by providing them a trade transit facility," foreign office spokesman Nafees Zakaria told BBC Urdu on Saturday.
Pakistan's trade ministry spokesperson Muhammad Ashraf was quoted by The Express Tribune as saying: "Under the Pak-Afghan transit trade agreement, Afghan products go to India through Wagah. There has been no change in this policy in Pakistan."
The clarifications come after Ghani's warning on Friday that he would close the transit route for Pakistan's exports to Central Asia if Pakistan prohibited trade with India through Wagah Border.
“If Pakistan does not allow Afghan traders to use the Wagah border for imports and exports of their goods, Afghanistan will also not allow Pakistan to use Afghan transit routes to reach Central Asia and other countries for exports. Afghanistan is no more a landlocked country as several other options and transit routes are available for the import and export of commodities of the Afghan traders," President Ashraf Ghani said in a meeting with UK’s special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Owen Jenkins in Kabul.
The Afghan president also alleged that Pakistan usually closes transit routes during the fresh-fruit season which incurs loss of millions of dollars to the Afghan traders.
Afgan sources said Pakistan allowed the transportation of fruits only up to Wagah from where they had to be offloaded and carried in carts up to Attari. "This adds to transportation cost as well as to a significant spoilage,” sources told The Express Tribune.