Aghanistan did not prohibit Pakistani currency, Ishaq Dar
ISLAMABAD: To date, no ban has been imposed on holding Pakistani currency in Afghanistan by its government, the Finance Ministry noted here on Monday.
Minister for Finance, Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar, gave Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan, Dr Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal, a call and talked at length about the reported ban on Pakistani rupee in Afghanistan, the statement issued by the ministry further added. Zakhilwal then informed the minister that the Afghan government had imposed no such restriction on the Pakistani currency, which is freely convertible like other currencies.
It may be mentioned here that on Sunday, some media channels had reported that the police chief of Kandahar in Afghanistan had banned the usage of Pakistani currency in the key southern province. He had allegedly announced that using Pakistani currency in business transactions had been declared a crime. However, he hadn’t yet decided the punishment for the crime, the report added.
Pakistani rupee is widely used in Afghanistan’s eastern and southern provinces while the Iranian currency is used in its western border provinces. “I’m not against business, but I don’t want any other currency to be used in our country, especially the Pakistani and Iranian currencies,” Raziq added.
The ban had come into effect last week while several traders noted that it had an immediate effect in strengthening the Afghani currency. “This is very good news, as people have been confused about what currency they should use and keep,” Ahmad Shah Khan, a Kandahar tribal elder and businessman, said. He further added that Afghani had strengthened to 560 for 1,000 Pakistani rupees, from the previous rate of 630 per 1,000 PKR.
On Sunday, the official central bank had established an exchange rate of 622 Afghani per 1,000 PKR. Afghani had also strengthened against the dollar–from 68 to 65–ever since the ban was introduced, traders remarked. At present, an official rate ranked 67.5 Afghanis to a US dollar. Azrakhsh Hafizi, the head of the international relations committee of the Afghan Chamber of Commerce, also welcomed Raziq’s decision and urged the officials nationwide to adopt this ban on foreign currencies. Using US dollar in transactions elsewhere in the country, including the capital Kabul, should also be banned, Hafizi added.
“The central bank almost every week buys Afghanis in the market in order to maintain the stability of the Afghan currency but if we only used the Afghan currency all over the country, there would be no such need,” he asserted.