Skip to comments.China seeks land route to Afghanistan
Posted on 05/17/2002 7:57:17 AM PDT by milestogo
China seeks land route to Afghanistan
By Hamid Waleed
LAHOREChina has extended an official request to the Government of Pakistan for a land route to Afghanistan through Khanjrab Pass, informed highly reliable sources in the Export Promotion Bureau.
According to the sources, China has shown its interest to participate in the rehabilitation process of Afghanistan and it has formally made a request to Pakistan for providing an opportunity to supply material to Afghanistan by road.
The sources have further confirmed that the Government of Pakistan has conveyed to the Government of China that it is ready to take up the request made to it.
There are two possible routes available to China to approach Afghanistan through Pakistan. After having an entrance through Khanjrab Pass, Chinese traders could travel to Afghanistan through Gilgit, Chitral, Asadabad to Jalalabad or through Gilgit, Mardan, Peshawar to Jalalabad.
Though, the Government of Pakistan has not yet finalised the issue, however, the independent observers are of the view that once China is allowed a land route to Afghanistan, Pakistani traders would have to face more competition in the Afghan market.
According to official sources, an unofficial trade of about Rs 1b is being done every month between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
As many as 200 to 250 trucks are crossing through Chaman and Torkham border to Afghanistan from Pakistan on daily basis, said the sources, adding, however, bulk of trade between the countries is being operated in Pakistani rupee and not in US dollar. The government has recently declared Meeran Shah as custom port recently, which again will be helpful in improving the trade relations between the two countries.
However, the recent complaints made by the non governmental organisations (NGOs) working in Afghanistan, especially those working under the UN umbrella, about the supply of substandard material has raised concerns among the govt functionaries. According to the sources, the UNICEF has not only lodged complaint against the quality of the stationary material but also produced it before the government agencies recently. Such a bad impression about Pakistani traders would ultimately adversely affect the overall volume of trade from Pakistan to Afghanistan as a number of competitors like Iran China are exploring the opportunity to replace Pakistan in Afghanistan, said the experts. They have cautioned the traders to maintain the quality of products supplied to Afghanistan so that Pakistan could utilise maximum benefit out of the construction of Afghanistan.
Here are a couple of good online maps of the area for research.
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