Srinagar: Expressing serious concern over the latest standoff on cross-LoC trade, the Jammu and Kashmir Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JKJCCI) on Friday urged the Indian and Pakistani authorities to immediately facilitate the return of stranded drivers along with their trucks and resume the trade.
“The Joint Chamber appeals to the Indian and Pakistan governments to resolve the standoff in a speedy and transparent manner according to the standard operating procedure (SOP) governing this trade,” a statement by the JKJCCI said.
The statement was issued at the end of annual general meeting (AGM) at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which was attended by the members from both sides of LoC.
Deploring the misuse of cross-LoC trade routes “by certain elements acting contrary to the spirit and purpose of the CBM”, members of the chamber demanded that a thorough probe should be conducted and the results shared with the stakeholders concerned.
The members, according the statement, also asked that the Joint Chamber be made part of the clearance process for registering traders on both sides of the LoC.
Members also reiterated the urgency of installing truck scanners at entry points for cross-LoC trade to ensure through security checks.
JKJCCI, which is a representative body of chambers of commerce, elected business entities and cross-LoC trade associations and unions connected with trade across the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir, called upon the governments of India and Pakistan to promote trade across the LoC by easing restrictions on travel, communication and meeting of traders, expanding the list of tradable items, and setting up the necessary infrastructure to support the trade.
“Members expressed their strong support for the process of cross-LoC trade as a CBM, promoting peace amongst the various regions of Jammu and Kashmir as well as between India and Pakistan,” reads the statement mailed to Kashmir Reader.
At the AGM, the Joint Chamber also signed a landmark agreement on reforms within the chamber, transition of leadership and a democratic electoral process, the statement said.
Ershad Mahmud and Zafar Choudhary have been mandated to facilitate the elections as election commissioners on either side of the LoC.
The meeting was facilitated by London-based peace building organization, Conciliation Resources, and its regional partners working in both sides of Jammu and Kashmir.
The meeting of the Joint Chamber was held in Malaysia since a delegation of members has been unable to travel across the LoC owing to procedural constraints, the statement added.
The AGM was attended by Mubeen Shah from this side of Kashmir (presently chairman JKJCCI); Zulfiqar Abbasi (former chairman of JKJCCI) from Pakistan-administered Kashmir; Hameed Punjabi, former president KCCI; Sheikh Ashiq, president KCCI; Anil Suri, president Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Hilal Turkie, secretary Salamabad-Chakoti Traders Union; Pawan Anand, president LoC Traders Association Chakanda Bagh, besides a number of trade leaders from both sides of Kashmir.