India, Pak must take up LoC trade issue at higher-ups level: KCCI

SRINAGAR: Expressing its disappointment and resentment against what it called ‘callous ineptitude’ towards handling the cross-Line of Control trade imbroglio, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) has impressed upon the government of India and Pakistan to take the issue at higher decision making level for immediate resumption of trade.
“KCCI seeks to impress the need for immediate resumption of trade lines across the LoC not by leaving it to the wisdom and compulsions of the lower rung officers but by taking it up seriously at higher decision making level at the earliest,” president of the KCCI, Shiekh Ashiq said in a written statement issued to press.
“The callous ineptitude shown towards handling the issue that has emerged to stumble the trade cum peace process of the two nations by giving it to be resolved by officers of lower ranks.”
The more the delay in settling the issues the more loss of gained ground on trade front and peacebuilding that tantamount to further mistrust and unrest among the people of Kashmir and will prove detrimental to the larger interest of both the countries, the president of KCCI said.
The cross-LoC trade is under suspension at both Salamabad, Uri and Chakandabad, Poonch trading points since January 17, when J&K police detained a Pakistan administered Kashmir driver after it claimed seizing of 114 packets of brown sugar from the truck he was carrying to this side of LoC. About 48 PaK drivers are stranded on this side of LoC, where as 27 drivers are held up in Pakistani side since the trade was suspended.
Contrary to the expectations, for trifle issues the process has been subjected to chucks and chokings more particularly on Salamabad route, the statement said.
“On one hand measures are claimed to be on for confidence building between the two countries as reflected when the firing incidents happen intermittently on the LOC by instantly calling flag meetings between the army commanders to strike truce and ensure normal friendly relations; but on the other hand innocent truck drivers are held up and stranded on either side of LOC by the respective authorities to see as remedy and punishment for the drug traffickers,” Sheikh said.
Asking whether it is any remedy to seek resolution of drug hauling case, KCCI said, “The unconcerned passerby truck drivers are held up and starved aimlessly causing hardship and immense desperation to their families.”
The KCCI president also demanded that the Chambers of Commerce from both the sides of the LoC should be made a part of the teams that are working out the resolution of the crisis that has lead to suspension of the LOC trade.
“The people of Kashmir have been all looking up with high hopes to see the LoC-trade progress leaps and bounds ushering both the countries to live in permanent peace, giving way to free intra-Kashmir as also Indo-Pak trade in all the distinguished spheres of its business including tourism, culture, academics and scientific fields,” Sheikh said.
He said KCCI wants to caution the authorities on both the sides to wake up and see the issue in right perspective, considering the implications of stalling the entire trade activity for a stray case of drug trafficking.


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