The transit trade agreement between Afghanistan and Pakistan was hailed as a significant success between Afghanistan and Pakistan during the last 50 years. But within five days, already the “success” has been exposed. The intense criticism compelled Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi a.k.a Shah Jee saying “the transit trade agreement between Afghanistan and Pakistan will be cancelled if the parliament does not approve.” Business community in Pakistan criticizes the Government in Islamabad for the agreement. Already a petition has been filed in Lahore High Court against the agreement between the two countries. The advocate who filed the petition says it will start smuggling of poppy and arms from Afghanistan to Pakistan. He added it will bring terrorism in Pakistan. The lobbies of some black fish do not want this agreement succeed.
Actually the new agreement is a better and updated version of the same Transit Trade Agreement of 1965. It was a good success in terms of paper agreement that Pakistan has agreed to allow Afghan goods to be exported to India through Wahga border. In exchange, Pakistan has access to Central Asia through Afghanistan. But resisting since long, Pakistan has not allowed Indian goods to come to Afghanistan via Pakistani land routes. Islamabad wants New Delhi to allow transit facilities to Pakistan for Nepal and Bhutan. There has not been an improvement on this. Pakistan has linked the Indian goods’ import to Afghanistan with the route to Nepal and Bhutan through India.
Though Afghan trucks have been allowed to use Pakistani routes for Wahga border, but the conditions are strict. And Afghan Chamber of Commerce says they won’t be able to transport their goods via Pakistan. Some elements are creating obstacles. Afghan Ministry of Commerce and Industries has also said if the agreement is cancelled, Kabul will look for alternative routes. But surprising is that the Government of Pakistan is facing intense criticism now. While the talks for the deal took an entire year. In May 2009 President Karzai and Zardari signed a memorandum of understanding in Washington that their countries would start bilateral talks about the transit trade agreement. Its unrealistic to say that Afghanistan’s goods would damage Pakistani industries. The transportation and labor costs make it extremely difficult for Afghan factories or companies to compete with Pakistani industries. There is a serious doubt if this agreement will work. The implementation would be a serious challenge. President Karzai was too optimistic calling it the most important achievement between Pakistan and Afghanistan in last 50 years. If it will be cancelled after rejection from the Parliament in Islamabad, it will mean the Pakistani efforts were just symbolic and temporary under the US pressure for this agreement.