Islamabad has issued around 80,000 visas to Afghans and a few are for less than a year. Students are getting visas for the entire time period of their scholarship. This shows things are moving in the right direction, though we have to be patient. Complex issues accumulating over years would take some time for resolution; we should not lose any gains made so far, stated Ambassador Muhammad Sadiq, Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Afghanistan. He was speaking at the fifth Pak-Afghan Trade and Economic Connectivity Focused Group Discussion (FGD) in Islamabad, spearheaded by Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) and Pakistan Afghanistan Joint Chambers of Commerce and Industry (PAJCCI). Pakistan and Afghanistan have taken some principled decisions within last six months, in order to move forward in an organized way. Trade diplomacy should continue irrespective of political environment, reciprocity should be in the positive, a tit for tat approach be avoided, and the common man should not bear the brunt of something done by an individual or a group. Moreover, parliaments of both sides are now on-board, PM Special Representative added. Pak-Afghan traders highly appreciate the recent swift and positive developments, between Pakistan and Afghanistan, over the course of last few months. Islamabad and Kabul now seem committed more than ever to resolve issues of mutual interest in a structural manner. It is the beginning of new chapter of economic connectivity and enhanced trade between two countries, stated Khan Jan Alokozai, Chairman PAJCCI and Vice Chairman Afghanistan Chambers Federation. The Afghan delegation was of the view that Pakistan may consider utilizing another crossing point, right next to Torkham, naming Khwar. This would allow operations through Torkham and Khwar, for exclusive entry and exits points, allowing uninterpreted flow of trade and transit. They also said that if trade of cement and coal could entirely be diverted to Ghulam Khan crossing point, this could significantly reduce the traffic congestion at Torkham and Chaman. Afghan traders also complained about the scanning and tracking issues. Government officials from Pakistani side responded that scanning and tracking issues have been resolved to a certain extent. Moreover, Expression of Interest (EOI) has been floated to involve more private companies for the purpose, to bring in the factor of competition, resulting in cheap and sufficient services. Additionally, FBR representative said that to facilitate bilateral trade and transit, joint checking of the vehicles has started. At present, Frontier Constabulary (FC) and Customs are jointly checking the vehicles; National Logistics Cell (NLC) will also join in soon. He also shared that Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has sent a details report for the operationalization of Ghulam Khan crossing point for transit too. Now the ball is the court of Ministry of Commerce (MoC). As the constructive and positive discussion wrapped up, both sides offered helpful suggestions to improve trade flow and both sides pledged to keep economics and trade detached from politics for regional stability and sustainable development.