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ISLAMABAD: A high-level committee tasked with development of Pakistan’s border regions on Saturday held its inaugural session in Islamabad to discuss the challenges facing communities based in the country’s frontier regions, the Pakistani commerce ministry said.

The inaugural session of the committee, which was formed to devise comprehensive strategies for holistic development in these areas, was presided over by Commerce Minister Jam Kamal Khan, according to the ministry.

Key topics that came under discussion at the meeting included tariff rationalization and employment creation, reflecting the committee’s commitment to addressing border communities’ challenges.

“The committee aims to present its recommendations to the Prime Minister within 10 days, signaling a promising start to collaborative efforts for socio-economic development in the region,” the commerce ministry said in a statement.

Pakistan shares a long, porous border with Iran and Afghanistan, with people live along it relying on cross-border trade with little or no government tariffs, quotas, subsidies or prohibitions.

Islamabad last year announced restrictions on the informal trade to discourage smuggling of goods and currency in order to support the country’s dwindling economy.

Pakistan’s trade with China mostly takes place through formal channels, while the country’s trade ties with India, another neighbor it shares border with, remain suspended since 2019 over the disputed region of Kashmir.

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