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Chairman Mian Zahid Hussain Attributes Economic Debilitation to Detrimental Transit Agreement

Karachi, 11 Oct 2023:Mian Zahid Hussain, an esteemed business leader holding pivotal positions as Chairman of National Business Group Pakistan, President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum, President All Karachi Industrial Alliance, and a former provincial minister, has voiced grave concerns over the longstanding impact of the transit agreement on Pakistan's economy, according to a press release from the Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum. Hussain underscored an urgent need to recalibrate anti-smuggling operations and dismantle the influential transit mafia, implicated in perpetuating an economic crisis that has beleaguered the country for decades.

Hussain detailed a concerning surge in Afghan transit trade cargo, registering a 39% increase, indicating a vehemently active transit mafia operating across both Pakistani and Afghan territories. The longstanding transit trade agreement, he lamented, has sown widespread devastation throughout Pakistan’s economic landscape, indicating that customs data reveals a notable increase in containers, from 74,316 in 2022 to 102,886 in 2023, and a substantive increase in transported goods, from four billion dollars in 2022 to 6.7 billion dollars in 2023.

Moreover, he pointed out the pervasive issue of misrepresentation of transported goods, with many containers purportedly carrying alternate items to those declared by importers, and numerous containers being unlawfully emptied into Pakistani markets instead of being transported to Afghanistan. Such malpractices, according to Hussain, are orchestrated with the collusion of rogue elements within relevant departments, resulting in any opposition being subject to oppressive repercussions.

Hussain highlighted the already-precarious conditions for industrialization in Pakistan, elucidating that even with the mitigation of smuggling, industrialists persist in transitioning into property dealers, given that investment in the nation's industrial sector is oft-deemed a total loss. The ensuing deficit in government revenue and a concurrent rise in unemployment stem directly from this pervasive lack of industrial investment, he emphasized.

In the context of contemporary anti-trafficking efforts – considered effective and crucial for the nation's survival – Hussain affirmed that these are accompanied by border surveillance, discouragement of smuggled goods transportation, and further progressive measures. Yet, additional actions against the formidable transit mafia and the vendors of the smuggled items remain imperative. With markets across Pakistan openly selling smuggled goods with apparent impunity, a comprehensive prohibition on transit trade and stringent administrative actions against those exploiting such agreements to undermine the domestic economy are crucial, insisted Hussain. He concluded with an assertion that achieving a fully documented economy is pivotal to extirpating this malignant issue permanently.

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