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Afghanistan traders are demanding demand clearance of transit cargo at Karachi ports
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Afghanistan traders are demanding demand clearance of transit cargo at Karachi ports

India Blooms News Service | | 01 Jun 2020, 02:19 pm

Islamabad: Afghanistan traders have said their transit cargo is lying at Karachi ports under severe demurrage and detention charges since the first week of March 2020  and they are now demanding a clearance of it.

The traders have argued that both Afghan transit trade and bilateral trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan suffer losses of billions of rupees.

Ahmad Shah Yarzada, member of the Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who imports goods under transit trade, told Daily Times they encounter delays up to 5-12 days for cargo clearance at Karachi, whereas the domestic cargo is cleared within 1-4 days based on the available evidence. 

“This causes considerable losses for Afghan traders because shipping company generally provides only 21 days free detention including clearance time, but it takes at least 25-30 days to complete the cycle of returning the empty container back to the shipping company owing partly to transit and customs delays,” Yarzada  said.

Incidentally, Pakistan and its landlocked neighbour Afghanistan had signed transit trade agreement in 1965 that was revised in 2010.

Afghan  traders have been accessing ports in Karachi since then.

Pakistan also allowed Afghan traders to import goods via the Gwadar port in Balochistan province.

Pakistan last month announced to allow import of the Afghan bulk cargo of wheat, sugar and fertilizers at the Gwadar port and onward transit to Afghanistan in sealable trucks, instead of being limited to containers, reports Daily Times.

Abdul Razak Dawood, advisor to Pakistani prime minister on commerce, textile, industry and production, and investment says that a cargo ship, carrying 16,000 tons urea for transit to Afghanistan arrived at the Gwadar port on Friday. The China Overseas Port Holding Company, which operates the Gwadar port, also confirmed arrival of the Afghan cargo ship, reported the newspaper.

Welcoming the move, Afghanistan envoy in Pakistan Atif Mashal tweeted:"Thank you@razak_dawoodSahib for your efforts. This will certainly have a positive impact on Afghanistan-Pak trade & transit ties. We must extend support to each other for revival of commerce & connectivity in Central and South Asia that will surely benefit people in the region."

Yarzada said that Afghan traders are going to benefit from the 6 days and round-the-clock opening of the border if their cargo at Karachi ports is cleared.

Yarzada told Daily Times an Afghan Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement only up to 5 percent examination of consignment is allowed based on risk management basis, but unfortunately 80% is done without taking into consideration nature of the cargo, which he termed as violation of the APTTA. 

“There is no justifiable reason to make both physical examination of the cargo and scan,” he said, adding there is only one scanner machine installed at each of ports in Karachi while hundreds of Afghan transit consignments arrived to Karachi on daily basis from different countries.

“Since the capacity of Scanner Machine is not enough to scan such huge numbers of containers/consignment, therefore Afghan transit cargo is delayed for 5-10 days at Karachi ports exposed to heavy detention and demurrage charges,” he said.

When asked about Pakistan’s complaint that Kabul is not convening the long pending meeting of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Coordination Authority (APTTCA), which oversees implementation of the transit agreement, he said Afghan side argues Pakistan has not implemented decisions in the previous APTTCA meetings and another meeting will be useless.

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again; UNESCO regrets #HagiaSophia, #Turkey, #Istanbul, #HagiaSophiaMosqueAgain Istanbul/IBNS: Hagia Sophia, Turkey's iconic monument, a UNESCO World Heritage and one of the central attractions of its capital Istanbul, is no longer a museum. It has been turned back as a mosque though some 1500 years ago it was built as an Orthodox Christian cathedral. Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque during the Ottoman time in 1453 while under Ataturk it was turned into a museum in 1935. The decision comes amid a growing rise of the Islamists in Turkey who had been demanding that it be restored as a mosque though Opposition leaders with secular credentials had been against the move. A top court in Turkey ruled that turning it into a museum in 1935 by modern Turkey's secular architect Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was illegal, paving the way for present Turkey president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to declare it as a mosque again and to open it for Muslim prayers. Erdogan made the announcement an hour after the court ruled the conversion to museum in 1935 as illegal and scrapped its status. "May it be beneficial," posted Erdogan on Twitter, sharing an official document on the change with his signature. UNESCO regrets In an immediate reaction, UNESCO said it "deeply regrets" the decision. UNESCO said it was "regrettable that the Turkish decision was not the subject of dialog nor notification beforehand". "UNESCO calls on the Turkish authorities to open a dialog without delay in order to avoid a step back from the universal value of this exceptional heritage whose preservation will be reviewed by the World Heritage Committee in its next session," the United Nation's cultural body said in a statement. Istanbul icon of beauty and wonderment According to Turkey's official tourism website, Hagia Sophia is a remarkable achievement in the history of architecture. and a living proof of mankind's revolt against the laws of physics and it calls it a monument whose importance transcends borders. It is one of UNESCO's World Cultural Heritage sites attracting millions of visitors across the world with its majestic grandeur

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Erdogan's Turkey turns Hagia Sophia into a mosque again 11 Jul 2020, 01:37 pm