Afghans and Pakistanis are brothers. They share religion, ethnicity, language and culture. Pakistan is at the forefront to look after its brothers in Afghanistan, when the world community is disregarding the well-being of Afghan masses during these testing times on the pretext of certain difference with Taliban Government. During the current financial turmoil, Afghan Government is relying more on the country’s natural resources like coal and also agriculture to meet the economic challenges.
With the aim of financially assisting the people of Afghanistan, Pakistan exports to Afghanistan have fallen and imports sharply increased in the current financial year, leading to a bilateral trade balance for the first time in favor of it’s neighbour. Since Aug 2022, Pakistan exports to Afghanistan have dropped to around USD 700 million from more than USD 900 million last year, whereas, the imports from Afghanistan have increased to more than USD 700 million from USD 500 million last year. The change is attributed mainly to increase purchases of Afghan coal by Pakistan in recent months.
This is not all. Pakistan is also the top buyer (about 35 pc) of Afghanistan’s Dry fruits, fresh fruits, vegetables and good quality cotton providing a good source of livelihood for millions of Afghan farmers. Pakistan has also ensured maintenance of trade corridors and has made five fully operated border crossings and is currently working to establish new border openings with Afghanistan to increase the trade further. A preferential trade agreement between the two countries will improve the access of Afghan goods to the Pakistani market. The agreement should include a clear action plan to rationalize tariffs and eliminate double taxation in the region to facilitate investment in both countries.