Efforts urged to boost Pak-Afghan trade

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PESHAWAR: Pakhtun Think-Tank Chairman Syed Akhtar Ali Shah has said that addressing challenges to trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan will help both the governments to revive economic ties.

He was addressing the Pak-Afghan Peace Conference organised by Bacha Khan Trust Foundation Network on the theme of “People-to-People Contact in relation of Politics and Economics.”

He said that Pakistan remained Afghanistan’s largest trading partner until 2015. He said the volume of trade had reached to the tune of $3 billion, but it dwindled to $8 million due to growing political tension between the two countries.

Akhtar Ali Shah said that Pakistan and Afghanistan had common poets, writers and philosophers like Sufi poet Jalaluddin Rumi Balkhi, Jamaluddin Afghani, Rehman Baba, Hamza Baba and Ghani Khan.

The two countries also shared poets and musicians, including Khyal Mohammad, Rafiq Shinwari, Ustad Shahwali, Qamar Gula, Gulnar Begum, Sardar Ali Takkar, Naghma and Nasha Nas, he added.

While sharing history, he said, it was also important to observe that both the countries share a dismal record in the area of gender equality and governance.

“Both Pakistan and Afghanistan appear at the top of the list whenever a ranking for poor governance or gender discrimination was done by international bodies,” he said, adding, instead of interfering negatively in the affairs of each other’s countries, one should address the commonly shared problems with positive cooperation and mutual assistance.

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