NATO supplies: Pak wants USD 1000 per truck

Islamabad: Pakistani authorities have proposed the imposition of a levy of USD 1,000 on each truck and container transporting supplies to NATO forces in Afghanistan through the country`s territory, a senior official has said.

The Communication Ministry had proposed the levy, National Highway Authority Chairman Mohammad Ali Gardezi said.

His remarks came against the backdrop of discussions within the government on reopening the supply routes that were closed after a cross-border NATO air strike in November. "The government sought proposals from the Communication Ministry on the levy to be imposed on NATO containers," Gardezi told the Business Recorder daily.

A proposal regarding the recovery of estimated damages and the levy of a tax for infrastructure usage charges has been submitted to the Foreign Affairs and Defence Ministries and it was proposed that USD 1,000 should be charged for every NATO container, he said.

A senior unnamed official of the Communication Ministry claimed that during the past 10 years, Pakistan`s road infrastructure suffered damages estimated at Rs 100 billion due to the heavy NATO trucks carrying goods to Afghanistan. He said a report about claims for damages worth USD 1.5 billion had been submitted to a standing committee of the National Assembly or lower house of parliament.

NATO containers damaged 26 per cent of the main highways and the reconstruction and rehabilitation of these roads cost USD 1.36 billion, the official claimed. The National High Authority`s network connects Pakistan to Afghanistan via three routes with a total length of 406 km.

Before the routes were closed, supplies for NATO and foreign forces in Afghanistan used to arrive in the port city of Karachi, from where they were transported via two border check points in Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces. Pakistan has said it intends to negotiate news terms and conditions for reopening the NATO supply routes.