ISLAMABAD: Islamabad is optimistic of a substantial upsurge in the Pak-Afghan trade volume with the construction of a sea-port in Balochistan’s coastal city of Gwadar.

Pakistan’s Communication Minister Shamim Siddiqi the other day asserted bilateral trade between the neighbours would account for billions of dollars once the sea-port was completed in the province bordering Afghanistan. In an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, the minister hoped the port, 450 kilometres from Karachi, would also lend a fillip to Pakistan’s trade links with the Central Asian republics.

“Pakistan, exporting building materials, foodstuffs and other daily-use items to Afghanistan, is playing a proactive role in the rebuilding of that country,” he claimed, promising all possible facilities for Afghan entrepreneurs.

Siddiqui added the completion of roads in Gwadar would enormously benefit Afghanistan in terms of forging deeper trade relations with Pakistan, China, Iran, India and Middle Eastern countries. He was of the opinion the Gwadar port would make Afghanistan a commercial hub in the region on the one hand and translate into better trade prospects for Central Asian states on the other. “We invite Afghanistan to make us of the enabling economic environment here and accord Pakistan the most favoured nation status,” observed the minister, who concluded Kabul would dispassionately analyse the business opportunities his country offered. The mega project is being executed on a fast-track basis despite stout opposition from Baloch nationalist leaders, who allege the port would bring no concrete gains to the local people.

Source: Pakistan Times