Jammu and Kashmir gets ready for cross LoC trade

September 26th, 2008 - 1:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghJammu, Sep 26 (IANS) It’s ready, steady and go for business between the two parts of Jammu and Kashmir divided between India and Pakistan on the cross-LoC Poonch-Rawlakote route.From Oct 28, trucks would start rolling between Poonch and Rawlakote - a week after it would begin on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route.

The move comes after an announcement from New York, following a meeting between Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, that business across the Line of Control would begin on the two routes from Oct 21.

At Chakan-da-Bagh, the point where Indian and Pakistani parts of Kashmir meet on Poonch-Rawlakote road, officials took stock of the infrastructure and then decided on the Oct 28 date.

“Everything is in place and we are waiting for the traders’ delegation from Pakistan occupied Kashmir to visit this side and ours to go to that side,” said a provincial official.

“After all, it is a matter between the trading communities.”

The trade items were finalised and modalities worked out by officials of India and Pakistan early this week. On Wednesday, a joint statement was read out in New York after the meeting of the two leaders.

Jammu traders welcomed the move.

“More routes and more trade is a welcome step,” commented Ram Sahai, head of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Jammu.

However, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said it was strongly opposed to cross-LoC trade.

“It is a surrender to the separatist agenda that wants to disconnect Kashmir from the rest of India. If need be, we will oppose it on the streets,” said BJP state unit president Ashok Khajuria.

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