Pak-Afghan luxury bus service from next month

Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed on Wednesday to launch a luxury bus service between the two countries by the end of the next month and increase the operational timings at all crossing points, Torkham, Kharlachi, Ghulam Khan and Chaman-Spin Boldak.

During the three-day bilateral talks in Kabul, which concluded on Wednesday the two sides also agreed on multiple measures to ensure early clearance and free movement of trade traffic and improve efficiency in goods clearance.

The talks in the Afghan capital from July 18-20 were led by Pakistan’s Commerce Secretary Muhammad Sualeh Ahmed Faruqui and Afghanistan’s Acting Commerce Minister Nooruddin Azizi, and Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.

The visit by the Pakistan delegation was meant to discuss mutual actions for enhancing bilateral, trade, transit and connectivity and to take necessary trade facilitation measures with a view to addressing the problems facing the importers, exporters from both sides.

The Pakistani delegation included representatives from all relevant ministries and departments relating to economic interaction, trade, transit, commercial exchanges and enhancing facilitation at all border crossing points.

During the discussions, the two sides noted that during the current financial year, bilateral trade and transit had registered a growth. They underscored that this momentum needed to be sustained and further strengthened on a mutually beneficial basis.

Both sides agreed to make the border-crossing points more efficient to ensure early clearance of trade and transit traffic and address the bottlenecks and impediments on a priority basis.

They agreed to implement the Temporary Admission Document (TAD), allowing free movement of bilateral trade vehicles and prevent loading and unloading of goods at the border crossing with a view to further increasing the bilateral trade.

The relevant authorities of the two sides also agreed to increase operational timings at all crossing points, particularly Torkham, Kharlachi, Ghulam Khan and Chaman-Spin Boldak.

The heads of the custom departments of the two countries agreed to work together and evolve mutually connected custom procedures to improve efficiency in clearance of goods. The two sides agreed to make all out efforts to launch luxury bus service between Peshawar and Jalalabad and Quetta and Kandahar by end of August this year.

It was also agreed that the difficulties in visa processing would be addressed through mutual coordination. The two sides also reaffirmed to maintain regular coordination for implementing these understandings and further expand economic cooperation.