| GEO World|
| Pak-Af accord to improve border control system|
| Updated at: 0522 PST, Friday, May 15, 2009|
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Afghanistan on Thursday agreed to improve the border control system, import 1000MW of electricity from Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan with an estimated cost of $750 million and establish rail links to boost regional trade.
In a joint declaration issued at the end of a two-day moot on Regional Economic Cooperation on Construction of Afghanistan (RECCA), the Technical Working Group on Transit and Trade Facilitation recommended that the Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) negotiation process should be completed by December 2009.
Addressing a joint press conference along with Afghanistanís Minister for Economics Jalil Shamas, Minister of State for Economic Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar said that the Central Asia-South Asia (CASA) regional project of importing 1,000MW of electricity and the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline project would be completed with technical and financial support of the international financial institutions (IFIs).
The neighbouring states, Khar said, also agreed to enhance bilateral trade in line with the ECO and Safta agreements. On the issue of the Afghan Transit Trade (ATT), she said that there was a need to bring the desired changes in an agreement finalised 40 years ago.
On the sidelines of the RECCA conference, Khar said, the Business to Business conference identified projects of $10 billion. She said Pakistan has also offered 1,000 scholarships to Afghan students.
On the occasion, Jalil Shamas said that they were quite hopeful that the two states could move ahead by enhancing cooperation in various fields. Answering a query about the CASA project for importing 1,000MW of electricity, he said that the project would cost $750 million, which would be borne on cost sharing basis.
Kabul would bear most of the expenses for having the biggest share of transmission lines, he added.
He also said that they were planning to install biometric system at the bordering areas. Both the countries also agreed to improve the borders control system by modernising two points at Torkhum and Chamman.