Trans LoC trade rising despite Pak-India tensions

29 January 2009
The News International
Sayed Abid Hussain Shah

Mirpur: Trans-LoC trade between Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Indian occupied Kashmir (IOK) has increased despite tensions between Pakistan and India in the aftermath of terrorist attacks in Mumbai. AJK Chamber of Commerce & Industry Executive Committee Member Khalid Sharif observed this while addressing a meeting of businessmen here on Thursday. It is a good omen, Khalid said adding promotion of trade ties would reduce tensions on both sides of the Line of Control. Khalid Sharif, who recently returned from occupied Jammu Kashmir being member of an official trade delegation of AJKCCI, said trans LoC trade would open new vistas of economic prosperity and lead to socio-economic uplift. Sharif observed that trade and movement of Kashmiris would be a step forward for early peaceful resolution of the Kashmir conflict. The business community leader emphatically said that negative impact of the Indo-Pak tension on cross-LoC trade should be avoided and discouraged by both countries in all circumstances. He said that the business community of occupied Kashmir and AJK was always desirous of maximum promotion of trade, which started on October 21 last year. Khalid Sharif said that this could be assessed through the recent impetus in exchange of locally-made products witnessed during past weekly trans-LoC truck service through both the historic Rawalakot-Poonch and Muzaffarabad-Srinagar routes. He pointed out that through their joint forum - the Federation of Jammu & Kashmir Chambers of Commerce & Industry - the business fraternity of AJK and IOK have asked the governments of Pakistan and India for direct telecom and banking facilities at both sides of the line of control. Currently the cross-LoC trade is being conducted under barter system. Because of the lack of direct telecom facilities in occupied Kashmir, the business fraternity in IOK have to face immense problems in communicating the supply orders to their counterparts in AJK besides in discussing other issues related to their business activities. AJKCCI President and President of Federation of Chambers of Commerce & Industry, the joint forum of the business community of AJK and IOK Zulfiqar Abbasi along with Supreme Head Markazi Anjuman-e-Tajran Suhail Shujah Mujahid, Senior Vice President of AJKCCI Raja Khalid Mahmood Khan, Member AJKCCI Executive Committee Abdul Wahab Abbasi and members of the executive committee were present in the meeting.