ISLAMABAD: The geo-political and geo-strategic situation of Pakistan and Afghanistan offers enormous opportunities for regional cooperation as both countries provide a strategic and social-cultural connect to South Asia and Central Asia. This was stated by Minister of State for Investment Saleem H. Mandiwala while addressing the Business Conference on the sideline of 3rd Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan here on Wednesday.
He said the current volume of trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan stands 1.23 billion dollars which is expected to increase further in the years to come with the expansion of trade. The Minister said Pakistan intends to boost trade and business activities and in this regard a number of MOUs have been signed. Referring new trade and transit agreement recently signed between the two countries in Washington, he said it will increase trade with Afghanistan and boost economic activities.
He said Pakistan has been spending three hundred million dollars in the reconstruction of Afghanistan and to improve health and education sectors besides construction of Torkhum-Jalalabad Highway. He said Pakistan is engaged in building a parallel carriageway.
He said currently Pakistan is constructing the two hundred bed Jinnah General Hospital and Thalacemia Centre in Kabul. Another hospital in Logar and a Kidney Centre in Jalalabad will be setup besides a hostel in Kabul.
The Minister said Pakistan has also announced one thousand scholarships for Afghan students and proposed setting up of model villages for Afghan returnees for skill development. He said Pakistan is the most important and pivotal country in the regional scheme of expanding opportunities and its contribution is viable and sustainable to achieve the common goals towards economic interdependence and individual progress. NNI