The Foreign Office’s (FO) announcement that Pakistan will allow the resumption of Afghan exports from July 15 through Wagah border after implementing COVID-19 protocols is praiseworthy. Helping a neighbouring county restore its pre-pandemic level transit trade is a tremendous diplomatic initiative of Islamabad. By honouring the request of the Afghan government, Pakistan has shown that it desires and sincerely intends to help its brotherly Islamic neighbour in all possible ways.
With this move, Pakistan also fulfils its commitments under the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA). The step taken by Pakistan’s government shows that Islamabad understands the importance of Afghan exports for Kabul’s economy. Islamabad wants to play a constructive role in saving the Afghan economy from paralysis. Honouring commitments under agreements signed between the states enhance the bilateral ties.
Islamabad wants nothing but everlasting good terms with the government in Kabul. President Ashraf Ghani and his government must reciprocate the Pakistani move. The Afghan government must provide complete and correct data of its imports to the global bodies, like the sub-body of the United Nations (UN) on international trade. Pakistan will see it as a symbiotic move, and it will further enhance the ties between the two neighbours. By resuming bilateral trade and Afghan export activity, Pakistan has also refuted Indian allegations about Pakistan leaving the Afghan economy on the verge of collapse.
Despite India’s constant suggestions to Kabul to shift its transit trade activities to Chabahar to secure the “much-needed bargaining power” vis-a-vis Pakistan, the Afghan government has so far ignored them. President Ghani has given a clear message to India that his government is better equipped than any other state to take the right steps for protecting its economy. This latest glimpse of interaction between Kabul and Islamabad shows that the leadership of the two countries will not allow external actors to affect their ties in the slightest.