Valley Traders Support PaK Counterparts On LoC Trade

Valley Traders Support PaK Counterparts On LoC Trade

1 January 2012
Greater Kashmir
Mukeet Akmali

Srinagar: The Kashmir traders’ fraternity today came to the support of their counterparts on the other side of the dividing line presently on a hunger strike against PaK custom officials’ alleged highhandedness in trans-LoC trade. President, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) Abdul Hamid Punjabi told Greater Kashmir that the chamber has taken strong note of the “reports coming from across the LoC about the strike of the our counterparts against the highhandedness of PaK custom officials.” “We are very much concerned about the situation across the LoC where our counterparts are made to suffer due to authoritarian approach of customs officials. They are being asked to pay high custom duty on goods that they export to this side,” he said. To mention, the traders in Muzafarabad are on hunger strike from Saturday. The hunger strike came a day after the traders pulled up nearly 120 trucks laden with different tradable items, mainly red chillies and cardamom, along the Jhelum Valley road and staged a demonstration against customs officials. Appealing governments of India and Pakistan to make cross LoC trade hassle free, Punjabi said: “We have worked hard to get the trade between the two sides operational and it was due to those consistent efforts that the governments of the two countries agreed opening Muzaffarad route for trade as a confidence building measure in 2008. But now it seems that it had gone in vain, as the traders are suffering because of lackadaisical approach of government across LoC.” President, Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir (FCIK) Zahoor Ahmad said: “It is unfortunate that these things are happening. We are concerned about the traders from PaK.” He said: “At a time when the efforts from both the sides should have been to strengthen the cross-LoC trade, it is quite disgusting that the custom officials in PaK are forcing the traders to pay arbitrary taxes for sending their goods to this part of Kashmir.” “We appeal to government of both countries to come together and resolve this issue as soon as possible,” he said. “Cross LoC trade has a greater significance as it is not only trade but has been started as a CBM in order to build strong relationship between the two countries,” Zahoor said. While supporting the traders of PaK, President Chamber of Commerce of Industries, Muhammad Afzal Parray said: “It is very sad that the authorities on other side are putting the trade fraternity through many hardships. We appeal to the government of Pakistan to sort out the matter.’ He said these things will have a direct impact on Cross Loc trade.’