PAKISTAN'S ROAD TO CENTRAL ASIA: A PERSPECTIVE THROUGH PRISM OF TRANSIT TRADE TREATIES
Central Asian Republics (CARs) are landlocked countries looking for access to nearest sea ports. Whereas Pakistan is looking to diversify its economy by accessing CARs. Afghanistan has traditionally been the land bridge from subcontinent to CARs, however, transit trade through Afghanistan has not been without challenges. Because of Afghanistan's political unrest and instability, APTTA 2010 has not been entirely successful in easing Pakistan's transit trade to CARs. This paper employs qualitative analysis to examine Pakistan's physical access to CARs through the prism of transit trade treaties. It investigates alternative solutions that circumnavigate Afghanistan via Iran and China, with a focus on the aspirations and sensitivities of these transit countries. Iran and China, superficially seem to be attractive alternatives in the context of an insecure Afghanistan, but these alternative routes to CARs are not without their own set of challenges and drawbacks, which warrant a renewed push to establish a working relationship for beneficial transit trade with Afghanistan.