KHOST CITY: Despite the closure of the Durand Line by Pakistani authorities for the past one month, prices of most commodities remain steady in Afghan markets, businessmen in southeastern Khost province say.
Pakistan blocked the border crossings after its military began building installations on the Durand Line in Khost, Paktia and Paktika provinces. The move sparked fears prices of a price hike. But except for oil and sugar,the rates most food items have been stable.
InamRahmani, head of the traders union, said they had suffered losses as goods-laden trucks had been stranded on the Pakistani side of the British-era frontier, which Afghanistan has never recognised as an international border.
“Our markets were less dependent on Pakistani goods, now we import floor from Kazakistan with good quality via Hiratan port in Balkh province,” he said.
Khost province has three border crossings at Ghulam Khan, BabrakTanai and Zazai Maidan. Zazai Maidan has been closed since the start of Ramadan and Ghulam for the past two years due to Pakistani military operations in North Waziristan.
Rahmani said they wanted to enhance importsthrough Central Asia and Iran because they were unnecessarily bothered at the Karachi port in Pakistan.
“If Pakistan continued to block the crossing point, it will not only damage imports from the neighbouring country, but will also result in the collapse of its factories,” he warned.
Khan Qasirm, a resident of the provincial capital, viewed a hike in prices of commodities as a routine affair in Ramadan and Eid.The increase had nothing to do with the closure of border crossings, he believed.
Faridullah, a shopkeeper in the city, asked the government not to worry about the border closure by Pakistan as it would have no negative effect on business in the landlocked country.
MuzamilShinwari, deputy minister of commerce and industries, said Afghanistan currently imported 30 percent of its requirements through Pakistan and 70 percent through Iran and Central Asian states.
With the development of the Chabahar Port in Iran’s Sistan-Balochistan province, Afghanistan’s on Pakistani portswould further decline, the deputy minister hoped. -Pajhwok
THE PASHTUN TIMES