slamabad, March 17 (IANS) In a first, Pakistan has allowed a private Indian trader to export commercial goods to Uzbekistan as part of the trade activity between New Delhi, Islamabad, Kabul and Tashkent.
According to details, at least 140 tonnes of cargo, mostly Indian sugar, crossed over into Pakistan and travelled to Afghanistan through the Torkham border. The shipment was sent ahead towards Uzbekistan's capital Tashkent on Wednesday.
Maulana Zaheer, spokesperson of Afghanistan's Ministry of Industry and Commerce, said that a special ceremony was organised to facilitate the transit of Indian goods in Kabul.
"The shipment arrived in Kabul a day earlier from Pakistan via Torkham border crossing. The ministry organized a ceremony to facilitate the transit of Indian goods,
"This is a major step towards turning Afghanistan into a key trade link between Central and South Asia," he added.
The cargo had originated from Mumbai and had travelled through the Karachi seaport earlier this month, where the Uzbek importer received it.
The cargo was then loaded into trucks from Karachi and sent towards the Torkham border into Afghanistan after which it would travel to Uzbekistan.
"This was done as under the recently inked bilateral transit trade agreement between Pakistan and Uzbekistan," said a Pakistani official.
The agreement was signed during the recent visit of Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev, during which, several bilateral trade agreements were mutually agreed and materialized.
"The Uzbekistan-bound Indian commercial consignment was a privately arranged activity under the agreement and had no government involvement from any of the four countries," stated the Pakistani official.
"It will not become a regular activity, and Uzbekistan will be able to import goods from anywhere through Pakistani seaports."
The official also revealed that the Taliban-led government in Afghanistan is bound to facilitate trade activity and Uzbekistan also has the right to access Pakistani ports for international trade, having the same right that is facilitated for Afghanistan.
Pakistan has allowed Afghanistan to use its ports and air routes to carry out its trade activities from other countries.
This facilitation is provided as part of the Afghanistan–Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA), which allows Afghan traders to export their goods to India via Pakistan's land, air and sea routes.
However, the Afghan traders can only import through Pakistan's seaports because of the tense relations between the two countries.
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