Pakistani businesses are carefully observing the initiation of a process that can prove to be the first step in a long journey towards lasting peace in Afghanistan.
The United States and the Taliban signed an agreement a few days ago which will help to refine the fragile process of natural development, improve its integration in the regional and global economy. Peace in Afghanistan can be proven beneficial to improve trade activates in the region.
A Peshawar-based businessman expressed his view on losing the Afghan market to India, Iran, and China by saying, “It’s a pity that a country that shared the cost — economic, social, political and human — of war more than others commands such little influence in Afghanistan in the reconstruction phase. Does it not expose the bankruptcy of Pakistan’s exercises in economic diplomacy?”
He further said, “Until 2010, from plastic mats to edibles, iron, and steel, Pakistan accounted for over 90 percent of Afghan imports. Now we hold hardly one-third of the market. Except in Jalalabad, Pakistanis and their products are detested with passion across Afghanistan. In a recent visit, it was depressing to see the wide circulation of brand India in Kabul.”
Special advisor to Prime Minister on trade and industry, Abdul Razak Dawood pointed out the war as the main cause of the current relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan. He said, “We have never been able to formalize a relationship because of war. Now is the time to formalize the relationship with Afghanistan.”
“The government needs to regain the confidence of the Afghan government by showing respect instead of trying to dictate them. Pakistan shares historic ties and 2,430 kilometers of border with Afghanistan. We need to learn to live and grow with them. It should sink in officialdom that our fortunes are tied with our immediate neighbors,” said the PAJCCI Vice President Khalid Shahzad.
Although Afghanistan is a densely populated county with poor economic conditions yet, it can lead to major development and trade in the region.