DGMO-level Talks Rekindle Hope For Resumption Of PoK-JK Traders’ Meets

DGMO-level Talks Rekindle Hope For Resumption Of PoK-JK Traders’ Meets

2 January 2014
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria

Jammu: The meeting of Director Generals of Military Operations (DGMOs) of Islamabad and New Delhi last month has rekindled hope for regular meetings of traders from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Jammu and Kashmir at the Zero Line on the Line of Control (LoC) for better cross-border trade. “Ever since Pakistan’s Border Action Team (BAT) killed five Indian soldiers in the Chakan-da-Bagh area on the LoC, there has been no meeting between traders from the two sides (PoK and J&K). Moreover, there has been a lot of firing on the borders. But now, peace has returned and we hope to restart the process of holding meetings at the Zero Line,” Mohammed Bashir Lone, the custodian of the Chakan-da-Bagh Trade Facilitation Centre in Poonch district told The Tribune. He said he had a meeting in this regard with the state’s traders today and on Sunday. “I will meet Poonch Deputy Commissioner Sajjad Ahmed Khan, the nodal officer of the LoC trade, tomorrow to discuss the issue,” he said. The DC would take up the matter with the Army because the latter has to provide security and give permission for holding meetings at the Zero Line where traders from PoK and J&K can discuss trade related issues, Bashir said. He expressed hope that within next two to three days, the Poonch district administration would take a decision. “Once we iron out bottlenecks, the matter will be taken up with the Director General for the trans-LoC trade and travel in PoK,” he said. Bashir said, 'Not even a single meeting between traders from the two sides has taken place on the Zero Line for the past about seven months.' Jammu and Kashmir Chamber of LoC Trade president Pawan Anand said, “These meetings are indispensable for us because we have to discuss trade with our counterparts and so do they. These (meetings) are the basic essence of the trade.”