May 23, 2022

Tense Pak-Afghan Relations, Strict Policies Affect KP Industries Reliant on Cross-border Trade

Qaiser Khan, a news reporter for Geo News in Peshawar, participated in our basic data journalism training in October and the five-day data and investigative reporting boot camp in December. At the end of the boot camp, he pledged to write an investigative story on the effects faced by local industries in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) due to decline in trade volume between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Mr. Khan’s story, broadcast on Geo News and published on, used data from the Economic Survey of Pakistan, the Afghanistan Yearbook, and the World Bank to show the actual decrease in exports from Pakistan to Afghanistan.

Mr. Khan interviewed stakeholders, including industrialists, traders, labourers, and politicians, to describe the causes of the dwindling trade and effects on KP local industries, which relied mostly on the export of its products to Afghanistan.

The story received an honourable mention in our investigative reporting contest.

Workers busy in packaging at a local pharmaceutical factory in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Photo courtesy Qaiser Khan/GEO

Mr. Khan’s reporting reveals that Pakistan’s export volume to Afghanistan fell by more than 50% in 2017 compared to 2015. Instead, Afghanistan has increased trade with Iran and China.

The story quotes the local chamber of commerce president to say that the “tense” political relations with Afghanistan have had a negative impact on bilateral trade. Measures taken by the Pakistani government, including stricter border management and regulatory duties, have also discouraged trade activity, according to the story.

As a result, small businesses and factory owners have lost their share of the Afghan market.

Muhammad Tahir, a chipboard factory owner in Peshawar, told Mr. Khan he had to cut down production because his exports to Afghanistan had dropped by over 30%.

The entiry story can be read at

Mr. Khan’s other news stories can be read here.

Note: Featured image courtesy of Qaiser Khan/GEO

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