Critical Analyses of Pak-Afghan Transit Trade Agreement: Pakistan’s Perspective
Asia’s Cockpit, Afghanistan, is not only a strategic neigbour but also share intellectual, geographical, cultural, and diplomatic relations with Pakistan. Pakistan and Afghanistan’s long but porous border has been a source of trade, people interaction, and economic integration. The landlocked Afghanistan seeks an opportunity for trade through Pakistan under the provision of GATT Article V, UN law of Seas 1981 and New York Convention-1965. This study is conducted to examine Pak-Afghan Transit Trade relations over the years. Study is descriptive in nature based on data extracted from published government sources and research papers. Study found that Pak-Afghan signed two transit trade agreements i.e. Afghan Transit Trade Agreement on March 02, 1965 at Kabul and Afghan-Pak Transit Trade Agreement on October 28, 2010 at Islamabad. Under this agreement Pakistan permitted using of territory for trade transit enter from Karachi Port and Port Qasim and exist through Chaman and Torkham. Study found these agreements are bilaterally beneficial, however the research revealed that volume of Afghan transit trade decreased due to the sporadic events of border closures over the years and resultantly Afghanistan seeks transit trade opportunities through Turkmenistan, Iran, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan as per mutually agreed transit trade agreements with them. Afghan’s transit trade shift through other routes has serious implications for Pakistan socio-political and socio-economic interests. Since, peace and prosperity passes through international trade and economic integration therefore, both countries should adopt realistic approach towards each other’s sensitivities and concerns. Afghanistan must take a serious measures in controlling flow of smuggling and terrorism across Afghan land to Pakistan. The research recommends revisiting of the agreement and realign with the obvious opportunities emerging from the CPEC. Afghan should permit and facilitate Pakistan to trade with Central Asia and beyond using Afghan territory. The research further recommends that both countries to ensure that their bilateral relation are not affected by ties with any other country.