'Don't make intra-Kashmir trade hostage to stray incidents'

'Don't make intra-Kashmir trade hostage to stray incidents'

The trade remained suspended for the third consecutive day today following the arrest of a Pak-based driver who police claimed to have been carrying narcotic substance in his truck at Salamabad TFC.

As the deadlock on LoC-trade continued on the third day of the arrest of a PaK driver at TFC Salamabad on charges of carrying narcotics, the stakeholders here today appealed the governments of India and Pakistan against making the intra-Kashmir trade a hostage to “stray incidents.”

The trade remained suspended for the third consecutive day today following the arrest of a Pak-based driver who police claimed to have been carrying narcotic substance in his truck at Salamabad TFC.

The stakeholders urged the state government and the governments of India and Pakistan to facilitate smooth conduct of this trade and not to make it hostage to “stray incidents.”

President, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sheikh Ashiq said the intra-Kashmir trade was started as a confidence building measure and the aberrations like recovery of narcotic should not be made an excuse to put spanners in this trade.

“We have so many incidents like this happening in trade between India and Pakistan or for that matter in the trade between other countries. That doesn’t mean the trade is stopped. In this incident let the law take its own course and let the trade continue as usual,” Ashiq said.  

President, Jammu Kashmir Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Y V Sharma in a statement condemned the act of the people defaming the trade. 

He said the incidents like drug haul will not only vitiate the atmosphere between the two countries but can also spell a doom for the future of this trade. 

Sharma appealed to the authorities on the both sides of the LoC to maintain strict vigil to check such activities in future. 

He also appealed the traders on both sides not to harm the trade in any way.  “CBM’s are most important and they should not be put in jeopardy due to action of few mischievous elements,” Sharma said, adding that the traders carrying out LoC trade at various locations should be registered with due care after checking of their antecedents.

He said whole-truck-body-scanners should be installed at the trading points.  

Secretary, Salamabad- Chakoti Traders Federation, Hilal Turki said suspension of cross LoC trade would hit the traders who are wholly and solely dependent on this trade.

Meanwhile, a senior official told Greater Kashmir that no meeting could be held today because of holiday with PaK officials. “It is likely that the authorities from this side will meet PaK officials on Monday afternoon to sort out the issue of detained 50 local drivers,” he said.

“We are seeking release of our 50 truckers detained by the Pak authorities,” he said, adding that the PaK drivers are putting up in TFC Salamabad with every arrangement provided to them.

The trade between the divided parts of Kashmir was started as a Confidence Building Measure by New Delhi and Islamabad on October 21, 2008.