…Says the Visa policy relaxation will quell hurdles in issuance
PESHAWAR: Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) has underscored the need of bringing relaxation in visa policy, besides taking pragmatic steps to quell factors that were creating hurdles in smooth issuance of visa to the business community so that bilateral trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan should boost up to optimal level.
Shahid Hussain, senior vice president of the SCCI, said on Wednesday that there was a need to focus on bringing relaxation and improvement in visa issuance to citizens and trader communities of both countries without any hurdle.
Giving reference of a recent survey report, Hussain said Pak-Afghan bilateral trade volume that stood at $2.5 billion in 2012 had dropped by $6 million in 2022, which is highly worrisome and a matter of grave concern.
It is reported that allegedly $1000 sum illegally is being charged on issuance of visa to Afghans and traders, citing that some local and foreign elements and factors are allegedly involved in this illegal practice, the SCCI SVP elaborated.
Keeping in view the current fragile security situation in war-ravaged Afghanistan, the SCCI SVP said that Pakistani traders could not freely roam for conducting survey, marketing and business purposes in various Afghan cities.
He went on to say that Afghan traders and people could buy things and move if they were provided a visa by relaxing policy.
There is neither issue of language, identification of locations and ways, nor required any guidance for roaming to Afghans people in various cities of Pakistan, he added.
However, he said the only thing that is needed for Afghans is a smooth issuance of visas on simplified procedures and a prompt manner.
The Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry senior office-bearer asked to focus on bringing relaxation and improvement of visa issuance to Afghans, instead of wasting time in conducting conferences.
Approximately CARs market is $100 billion, in which Pakistan’s share is completely negligible, he said.
He said Pakistan has also been ignored due to various factors in this regard and citizens/traders of CARs await visa facility for two or more months.
The Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry office-bearer urged authorities concerned in Pakistan and Afghanistan to take consistent and regular initiatives to facilitate the business community and jack up bilateral trade volume between the two countries.