Kashmir Traders Fear Closure Of Trade With Pakistan

27 July 2009

New Delhi: Traders in Kashmir said that trade with Pakistan through Poonch-Rawalakot road is on the verge of closure due to the pathetic attitude of the authorities. Indian traders sent various indigenous items like fruits, vegetables, shawls, carpets and kidney beans through the Chakan-da-Bagh border point at the Line of Control (LOC) in Poonch district. In return, Pakistan traders sent items like Peshawari footwear, dry fruits, garlic and rice. But for last few days the business has been declining. Indian traders said that they were sending more goods, but in return Pakistan traders were sending fewer goods, perhaps prompting Pakistani authorities to delaying tactics in order to retain balance of trade across this particular border trade point. 'The excitement among our traders is fading due to delay in clearance and scarcity of funds as they (traders) have invested all their money in business with Pakistan. But Pakistani traders are not responsible for this, the delay is caused by the pathetic attitude of Pakistani authorities. Our drivers told us that there are 70 to 80 loaded trucks waiting for clearance but authorities are not granting the clearance certificate,' said Rajiv Tandon, President, Poonch Traders Association.fficials on both sides assured that the issue would soon be sorted out. 'The trade is affected and both sides are sending less goods...we are monitoring the situation...I will give a facsimile of my record to both traders so that they can reconcile their record. my record will help them in sorting out the issue,' said Matloob Khan, Custodian of the Poonch Chakan-da-Bagh Trade Center. Trade on Poonch-Rawlakot route resumed on July 12, after remaining suspended for a week. Trade on this route had stopped on June 3 when Customs authorities prevented export of 'out of state' products, or goods not produced or made in Kashmir. India and Pakistan allowed limited trade across the frontline in October 2008, in an attempt to create 'soft borders' allowing the movement of goods through Poonch-Rawalakot route in Jammu region and Uri-Muzaffarabad route in Kashmir region.