Cross-LoC trade to boost economy

26 September 2008
The News International

Mirpur: President Azad Jammu & Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AJKCCI) Zulfiqar Abbasi has welcomed the historic decision, reached between India and Pakistan, of starting cross-Line of Control trade between Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Indian held Jammu and Kashmir. He described the decision a landmark to strengthen the economic conditions of both sides of the state besides being one of the effective confidence building measures (CBMs) to resolve all outstanding issues including the core issue of Kashmir between the two countries through peaceful means. Talking to newsmen in his office here late on Thursday Zulfiqar Abbasi, who is heading the first-ever trade delegation from AJK for Indian held Kashmir in mid of next month, said the decision about launching bilateral trade between both sides of the LoC will not only benefit economically to Kashmir dwelling on either side of the LoC, besides strengthening and promoting the ongoing peace process between India and Pakistan. He said that the cross LoC trade will also encourage people-to-people contact between Kashmiris living on either side besides encouraging interaction. It will not only help to alleviate poverty and unemployment, but would also prove to be a strong source to contribute to the economic prosperity of the entire Jammu & Kashmir state. Zulfiqar Abbasi said that huge trade and commerce potential existed on both sides of the LoC in the state which, he added, could be explored to ameliorate the economic conditions of the local population. To a question, the AJKCCI President emphasised the need for matching infrastructural facilities to facilitate this venture between the two sides of the Line of Control. Referring to the scheduled October 13-19 trip of AJKCCIs trade delegation for Indian held Kashmir, Zulfiqar Abbasi said it is hoped that the first-ever trade delegation from AJK to occupied Jammu Kashmir during last 61 years will prove to be a major break through for strengthening the economy of both sides.