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SOURCE: PTI

Pakistan said on Monday that it will restore Afghanistan’s exports through the Wagah border with India from Wednesday at the special request of Kabul and to faciliate Afghan Transit Trade. Pakistan closed the Wagah border with India in mid-march March in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“At the special request of the Government of Afghanistan and with a view to facilitating Afghanistan’s transit trade, Pakistan has decided to resume Afghan exports through Wagah border crossing from 15 July 2020, after implementing COVID-19 related protocols,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.The FO stated that with this step, Pakistan has fulfilled its commitments under Pakistan-Afghanistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA). It also said that Pakistan remains “fully committed” to improving bilateral relations with Afghanistan in all areas including trade, and to facilitate Afghanistan’s transit trade under the agreement.

Mohammad Sadiq, the Pakistan Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Afghanistan, said that his country has already restored bilateral trade and Afghan transit trade at all border crossings.Pakistan and Afghanistan share 18 crossing points. Pakistan closed its border with Iran and Afghanistan after COVID-19 cases increased in the country early this year.

Pakistan last week opened the Angor Adda point in South Waziristan and the Kharlachi crossing in Kurram districts bordering Afghanistan to boost trade between the two countries after months-long closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

While the Angor Adda was operationalised on Friday, two days ahead of its scheduled opening, the Kharlachi was reopened on Saturday.
Last month, Pakistan reopened Torkham crossing in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Chaman point in Balochistan and Ghulam Khan in North Waziristan tribal district to promote bilateral business and trade activities.

Pakistan has so far recorded 5,266 coronavirus fatalities and more than 251,000 cases. According to officials, Pakistan is the largest importer of Afghani products, while Afghanistan is the 4th largest destination for Pakistani exports.