Pakistan on Wednesday reopened its eastern border crossing to facilitate exports from its landlocked neighbour Afghanistan to its archrival India in line with a transit trade agreement, the Foreign Ministry said.
“Pakistan has decided to resume Afghan exports through Wagah border crossing from 15 July 2020, after implementing COVID-19 related protocols,” the ministry said in a statement.
Pakistan had closed all border crossings, including Wagah near the eastern city of Lahore, to stem the spread of the coronavirus in March.
The Wagah crossing was reopened on the request of the Afghan government.
“Pakistan has already restored bilateral trade and Afghan transit trade at all border crossing terminals to pre Covid-19 status.
“Pakistan remains fully committed to further strengthening its bilateral relations with Afghanistan in all areas including trade, and to facilitate Afghanistan’s transit trade,’’ it said.
The Pakistan-Afghanistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) was signed in 2010 but trade has repeatedly been suspended due to volatile relations between the two countries.
Afghanistan’s insistence on the inclusion of India in the agreement and Pakistan’s refusal was one of the reasons trade ties between the two countries were unstable.
In addition, U.S. and Afghan officials have long accused Pakistan’s spy agency of harbouring Taliban militants, even though Pakistan plays an important role in the Afghan peace process.
In February, Prime Minister Imran Khan rejected the accusations and said there were no safe havens for militants in Pakistan.
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