500 Cross-LoC Traders To Be Blacklisted

18 February 2015
Kashmir Reader
Wasim Khalid

Srinagar: Nearly 500 inactive traders would be banned from conducting cross-LoC trade, associations of traders from both parts of divided Kashmir announced Wednesday. The decision has been taken in wake of recent alleged seizure of a consignment of narcotics from a trucker from Pakistan-administered Kashmir at the Trade Facilitation Centre (TFC) Uri, they said. 'We have faced lot of embarrassment and harassment as well following the seizures of narcotics,' president Salamabad-Chakoti Traders Association (SCTA), Nazir Lone, told Kashmir reader. 'So we have decided that all those people who have only registered their names with the cross-LoC trade authorities and actually have no history of doing regular trade would be blacklisted,' he said. Recently, Syed Anayat Hussain Shah, a trucker from Muzaffarabad, was arrested by the police at TFC Salamabad, Uri, after 305 packets of narcotics were allegedly recovered from his vehicle. Admitting that the seizure of drugs has brought a bad name to the cross-LoC trade, Lone said that all those Kashmiris, who were involved in the smuggling, have not been regular traders and instead have been receiving goods on fewer occasions. 'The recent incident in which brown sugar was seized by the police involved some traders from this part of Kashmir. They were not regular traders. They had registered themselves as traders and then disappeared. It was only for the third time that they had received goods since the trade began in 2008,' Lone said. 'We have now decided that we would only allow those traders who really mean business. Hence, we have asked all people involved in the cross-LoC trade to produce their Tax Information Network (TIN) numbers so that we can ascertain if they are paying taxes regularly. They have to also prove that they are involved in business from last five years, may it be within Kashmir or cross-LoC trade. These measures would authenticate their genuineness,' Lone said. Lone said the decision to allow only genuine people to conduct trade was taken during a meeting of both factions of SCTA. Another faction is represented by Hilal Turkey. According to the SCTA factions, around 150 traders are involved in cross-LoC trade on regular basis. Last year, the cross-LoC trade was suspended for nearly a fortnight after drugs worth Rs 100 crore were allegedly recovered from a driver Mohammad Shafiq Awan, of Muzaffarabad. The cross-LoC trade, which began between two parts of Kashmir in 2008, is conducted four times a week-from Tuesday to Friday.