Trade across the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir remained suspended for the second week even as a limited number of trucks crossed Uri-Muzaffarabad on Wednesday. Traders from both sides have reiterated their decision to suspend business until their governments remove the bottlenecks.
Traders from both sides of the LoC met at the Chakan da Bagh crossing point and discussed, among other issues, the ban on some items, which they said was a setback.
While 60 traders from Rajouri-Poonch took part in the meeting, 42 from the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir were present too. Traders blamed their respective governments for their non-cooperative attitude towards the cross-LoC trade, sources said. However, no decision was taken about the future course of action. The issue of moong dal, which has been banned by Pakistan, however, dominated the meeting.
One trader said they have demanded that all the 21 items listed and cleared by the governments should be allowed to be traded, including moong dal. A telephone facility must be established for the traders so that they can discuss market issues on a day-to-day basis. “Besides this, we have also demanded the use of currency in trading instead of exchange of items,” he added.
Ahmad Lone, a trader from Poonch, said it was unjustified to ban commodities that had been approved by the Indian and Pakistani officials when the Standing Operation Procedure was signed two years ago.
Spokesman of the LoC Traders’ Association Sheeraz Ahmad Khan said the governments should immediately remove restrictions on trading items. He said trade would not resume until the governments made their positions clear. However, a limited number of trucks crossed the LoC from Uri-Muzaffarabad side.
India and Pakistan started trade across the LoC after 60 years on October 21, 2008 through the Poonch-Rawalakot and Srinagar-Muzaffarabad routes as part of the confidence building measures.