MUZAFFARABAD (PFP News) – Traders of Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK) on Sunday called upon India and Pakistan to chalk out a comprehensive roadmap to improve Trans- Line of Control (LoC) trade to redress current flaws and restrictions which are damaging the spirit of the peace trade. Intra Kashmir Trade Co-coordinator Mubarak Awan, who has been a participant of recent Srinagar Conference about Intra-Kashmir trade, said that one of the major obstacles for Muzaffarabad -based traders community is that there is no well -established market structure in Pakistan administrated Kashmir to accommodate growing needs of trade done between both parts of Kashmir.
He said that Pakistani government should show noticeable trust on the traders of AJK. “Muzaffarabad- Srinagar Trade is strengthening the envioemnt of mutual cooperation and confidence across the LoC among people and traders fraternity, however, some hidden forces want to foil this process for their vested interests”, he further said. Commenting on the broader impact of LoC trade on conflict resolution process, an anylst believed that Intra-Kashmir trade could become the most effective Confidence Building Measures (CMB) between divided State if India and Pakistan concentrate on the demands of major stakeholder- the traders, rather fruitless negotiations between technocrats.
Zafar Iqbal, an analyst and Founder Chairperson of Press For Peace, NGO based in Muzaffaraad suggested that professionals should be included in the LoC trade . “Concerned officials should engage Business Schools of major public sector universities in both parts of Indian and Azad Kashmir, which will help to run the ongoing trade on modern concepts.
He hoped that educationists would build up the practitioner’s business skills and performance embedding new knowledge and practices. “It would also open the window of cross border peace and confidence building in another important vital sector of education, research and economic devolvement”, he further said. Meanwhile, few traders in Muzaffarabad and other regions of AJK also raised concerns about the none-payments by their counterparts from Indian held Kashmir.
A trader from Muzaffarabad Farooq Ahmed Lone, claims that so far he has suffered from an estimated loss of lost approximately Rs 20m amount in the intra-Kashmir trade because his counterparts from Indian Kashmir are not sending the goods in response of his commodities, which he has been sending since the beginning of trade.
Revealing the names of few alleged defaulters names of his counterparts in Srinagar like Mr. Tariq Mir, Mr. Munib Rashid and Mr. Azhar Shah and others, he urges both Pakistani and Indian governments to play their role to recover his financial loss.
‘Both governments should immediately initiate a banking payment system to replace barter trader so traders like me could be saved from such un-ethical practices,’ he added.
He maintained that due to strict visa policy enforced by the Pakistan and India it is impossible for traders to find and contact with their defaulters’ counterparts living on the both parts of Kashmir.
It is pertinent to mention that media reports have also suggested similar allegations by the traders from Srinagar who claimed that Pakistani traders have damaged them by not sending the goods in response of Srinagar trader’s goods.