KARACHI: Ambassador of Afghanistan, Janan Mosazai has said that Pakistan and Afghanistan must work jointly to deal with common issues of terrorism, illiteracy, poverty, water shortages, energy crisis and infrastructure development etc.
Speaking at a meeting during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Saturday, the Ambassador said, “We are dependent on each other and cannot live in isolation. We need to effectively utilize the available resources in order build deeper relations between the two countries and stay focused on translating our words into action.”
“We will have to stop bloodshed and work jointly against terrorism in order to ensure a better future for our generations to come”, he added. Consul General of Afghanistan in Karachi, Shah Ahmed Saeed, President KCCI, Iftikhar Ahmed Vohra, Senior Vice President KCCI, Mohammad Ibrahim Kasumbi, Vice President KCCI, Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan, Former Presidents KCCI A.Q. Khalil, Majyd Aziz and KCCI Managing Committee members were present at the meeting.
The Afghan Ambassador, while assuring full support to KCCI by the embassy of Afghanistan, said that the door of Afghanistan were wide-open for the Pakistani business community to invest and enhance trade with their counterparts in Afghanistan. He also asked the Karachi Chamber to organize a KCCI delegation’s visit to Afghanistan with a view to explore trade and investment opportunities in both countries. In this regard, the business community of Karachi can play a leading role in the economic progress and prosperity of the region as Karachi city, being the financial and economic hub of Pakistan, can contribute significantly to improved trade ties.
The Afghan Ambassador also invited the business community of Karachi to invest in free economic zones in Afghanistan to boost economic and trade ties between the two neighbours. Pakistani investors can set up their units in these tax-free zones where they will get cheaper and reliable electricity along with security. Setting up of Pakistani industrial units in Afghan free economic zones would not help them effectively penetrate into the Afghan market but also gain access to Central Asian Republics, he added.
“We are ready to offer additional facilities particularly to Pakistani investors as compared investors from other countries which should give confidence to Pakistani investors and it shows the level of commitment and desire to have strong relations with Pakistan”, he added.
Identifying various sectors for undertaking joint ventures, he pointed out that business communities of the two countries can undertake joint ventures in agriculture, education, construction, mining, precious stones, natural resources and other important sectors of the economy. There was also a huge potential in Afghanistan for Pakistani rice exporters who can not only export rice to Afghanistan but also to Central Asian Republics via Afghanistan.
He also underscored the need to develop highways, railways and air-links between two countries. Various MoUs and agreements have already been signed in this regard, now it was high time to implement all these projects, he added.
Highlighting the improved education standards in Afghanistan, the Ambassador recalled that there was a time when less than 1 million Afghan children were going to schools in 2001 which has improved substantially as more than 10 million children including 40 percent girls were now going to schools in Afghanistan whereas thousands of Afghan students were also studying in Pakistan and many other countries who, upon their return, would surely play their role in the progress, prosperity and development of Afghanistan.
Earlier, while welcoming the Ambassador, President KCCI Iftikhar Ahmed Vohra extended full support of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry to promote trade and investment ties between the two countries.
Touching upon the vital role being played by the Pakistan Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, President KCCI said that PAJCCI was undoubtedly a milestone achievement which was formed three ago. PAJCCI has been vibrantly playing the role of a strong bridge between the business communities of the two countries, he added.
In order to effectively curb the menace of smuggling and misuse of Afghan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA), Iftikhar Vohra said that the local industry of Pakistan suffers badly due to misuse of APTTA. In order to effectively deal with the situation, he proposed that the duties and taxes on imported goods arriving at the Pakistani ports for Afghanistan should be collected on behalf of the Government of Afghanistan by Pakistan Customs and transmitted to the Afghan government upon evidence of transit goods reaching their declared destination which would surely help in dealing with smuggling and misuse of APTTA.
Appreciating the recent visit of President of Afghanistan’s visit to Pakistan, President KCCI said that Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, during his visit, expressed his government’s willingness to resolve all issues and enhance cooperation in various fields including Trade and Investment. The visit of a high-powered delegation from Afghanistan led by the Afghan President was a remarkable initiative and both countries would significantly benefit from such endeavours, he added.
Senior Vice President KCCI, Mohammad Ibrahim Kasumbi stated that the two countries must look forward and support each other so that common issues could effectively be addressed. He said that the Karachi Chamber was keen to develop and further enhance the existing trade ties between the two countries.
He was of the opinion that the business communities of the two countries were on same page as both sides want to improve trade. “We must look forward, ignore minor security issues and stay focused on our goal of enhanced trade and investment which would surely go in favour of the entire region”, he added.
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