Cross-LoC trade trade via Uri resumes after 2 weeks

TNN Bureau. Updated: 1/3/2018 2:49:25 PM

Muzaffrabad, Jan 3: After remaining suspended for one week, intra Kashmir trade from Chakothi-Uri crossing point resumed on Tuesday, as 69 trucks ferried goods from the 21 listed tradable items to the opposite sides of the Line of Control.
Before dispatching their goods, traders and other people connected with the activity held a special prayer meeting in Chakothi trade terminal to celebrate the revival.

However, Ajaz Ahmed Meer, publicity secretary of intra Kashmir traders’ body said the resumption was conditional to settlement of their dispute with the Pakistan customs department.
The trade on barter system takes place from Tuesday to Friday every week from Chakothi-Uri in Muzaffarabad division and Tetrinote-Chakan da Bagh in Poonch division.
On Tuesday last, the traders from Pakistan-administered Kashmir suspended the activity from Chakothi-Uri point in protest against the alleged hostile treatment by police and customs department in the territory of Pakistani Punjab.

The move was reciprocated by traders in Jammu and Kashmir (JK) “to show solidarity with their counterparts” in PaK.
According to Meer, the Pakistan customs department would “ambush and confiscate” their trucks and auction their goods for non-payment of duties despite the fact that intra-Kashmir was initiated under a zero-tariff regime.
Lately, the customs department had also lodged an FIR against as many as 46 nominated and unidentified traders in a Rawalpindi police station after a scuffle between them, following which 5 of them got arrested and later secured release on bail.
However, tempers calmed down after the representatives of traders held a meeting with Federal Board of Revenue chairman Tariq Pasha at the weekend, to sort out the issues “haunting” them for a long time.
It was decided at the meeting that a ‘high level committee’ comprising officials and representatives from the PaK government, customs department and traders would be constituted before January 15 to settle the issues regarding trade from both crossing points, Meer said.
“We highly value the commitment of Pasha sahib and express the hope that he would get the dispute between traders and customs department resolved, amicably, at the earliest to protect this Kashmir specific confidence building measure between Pakistan and India that has not only brought people closer to each other but also generated livelihood for tens of hundreds of families on either side,” he said.
According to retired Major Tahir Kazmi, Trade Facilitation Officer in Chakothi, 35 trucks from PaK and 34 trucks from JK transported goods to Chakothi and Salamabad terminals on the opposite sides.
After unloading goods, the trucks also returned to their respective sides in the afternoon, in accordance with the standard operating procedure, he said.
An official at Tetrinote crossing point told Greater Kashmir that five trucks from PaK and 28 trucks from JK ferried goods to the opposite sides from there.

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