As the government of Pakistan is making concrete deliberations towards building modern rail tracks and refurbishing the existing ones for direct and transit-trade with Afghanistan and Iran, the ‘All Pakistan Business Forum’ (APBF) has appreciated this trans-national venture and expressed its intent to utilize the proposed rail-link infrastructure to optimize the trade potential with the friendly neighboring countries.
A South African business delegation recently came to Pakistan with an interest in undertaking this large-scale project. The delegation was led by M/S Grindrod Rail – a Multi-Continent Investment Company, represented by Mr. Willem Goosen. The high-level meeting was facilitated by Mr. Ashfaq Anwar – a Pakistani businessman from South Africa. The delegation offered its support to Pakistan in terms of funding, rail-infrastructure development, technology transfer, training of human resources and provision of logistics for different projects.
Pakistan’s Commerce Minister – Khurram Dastgir chaired a meeting with this delegation and stated that; ‘The Pakistan government considers rail-tracks as trade corridors. We strongly desire to enrich the trade-relations with Iran and Afghanistan through rail, by building integrated locomotive services and a modern rail-link from Gwadar Port to up-country and further to Afghanistan. Refurbishing of existing rail infrastructure for trade with Iran is also under consideration.
The President of APBF – Mr. Ibrahim Quraishi, welcomed the plan to build the new rail-road infrastructure to Iran & Afghanistan and stated that; “Despite huge trade potential, the trade between Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan has remained low, due to inadequate trade infrastructure like; poor rail, road and air links. It is heartening to see a robust initiative among these friendly nations. APBF is consistently striving to enhance Pakistan’s portfolio of exports to these two neighboring countries and beyond.”
The proposed rail route will also ensure the smooth supply of imported raw-input for many power projects being established in Pakistan. Pakistan government is utilizing substantial resources to meet the electricity demand to power the export-oriented industrial sector. Iran has also offered facilitation in Pakistan’s transit trade, through Iran, to the Central Asian Republics and Russia, where the demand for Pakistani food and agricultural products is consistently increasing.
APBF will remain at the forefront to strengthen business relations in all sectors, including; Agriculture, engineering and the minerals sectors that offer tremendous scope. Export of services such as transportation, financial, communication, insurance and IT also promise great mutual benefits.
The APBF is a vibrant business association which promotes and protects the interests of the business community and a wide range of industries in Pakistan. It also advises reforms to the Government sector, regarding policy formulation, regulatory realignments and implementation in the commercial and industrial sectors of the economy. Over the years, APBF has been consistently playing a positive role in elevating the standards and facilitation of business activity in Pakistan.