Intra-Kashmir Trade Hampering Lawful Imports22 April 2010
Karachi: Intra-Kashmir Trade enroute Pakistan is severely hampering the lawful imports; Pak-Government must take necessary measures to protect the legal imports and to enhance revenue generation. Abdul Majid Haji Muhammad, President, Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI) disclosed that intra-Kashmir trade from Line of Control and smuggling of Coconut (Khopra), spices, zeera from Pak-Kashmir border is entering Pakistani markets and hurting the business of legal importers owing to them huge financial losses. This matter was taken up with Federal Finance & Commerce Ministry in November, 2009 when Consul General of Sri Lanka informed the Chamber that import of Coconut (Khopra) via Pak-Sri Lanka FTA declined owing to smuggling from Pak-Kashmir borders whereby south Indian Khopra was entering into local markets, ultimately hurting the legal imports and drastic downturn in the governments revenue whereas no concrete measures taken by Government are witnessed so far and the unlawful trade is getting momentum. Majid commented that intra-Kashmir trade was opened on October 21, 2008 as Pak-India Confidence Building Measure (CBM) after the launch of bus services across the line of control, enabling the Kashmiris. Whereas, only Kashmiri produces and manufactured items were allowed for trade only for Kashmir, he added. A delegation of prominent traders of Jodia Bazaar headed by former Vice President-KCCI, Muhammad Haroon Agar apprehended that the legal and genuine importers pay duties and 17.5% GST along with income tax and its an irony that they were deprived of their lawful business and profit. He expressed his concern that only Kashmiri manufactured and produced items were allowed in the relevant Pak-India CBM, however, the increased trade of south Indian origin khopra and spices shows that some elements are taking undue advantage and trading multifarious items which are not of Kashmir origin.