As cross-LoC trade begins, postcards from Rawalpindi evoke nostalgia

October 21st, 2008 - 2:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghSalamabad Uri (Jammu and Kashmir) Oct 21 (IANS) As trucks rolled Tuesday on both sides of the line of control (LoC) dividing Kashmir, resuming India-Pakistan trade in the region after six decades, a fruit trader displayed his “family treasure” here - postcards from a Rawalpindi trader to his grandfather written 70 years back, talking of the profitable trade in the region. Abdul Rashid Wani, a fruit trader of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, has preserved the communications between his grandfather, who was also a fruit trader in his time, and the Rawalpindi trader.

Beautifully handwritten in ink, with a nine paise India postage stamp of the British period, Wani proudly displayed three postcards.

The postcards informed his grandfather Sonaullah Wani of the “high price” his fruit consignment had fetched in Rawalpindi.

The postcards said that Wani’s fruit had fetched Rs.15 in those days, considered a fortune as a quintal of rice would have cost his family a few ‘annas’ (One Rupee was equal to 16 annas those days).

Abdul was happy that the two countries had agreed to start trade across the LoC - the de facto border that divides Jammu and Kashmir between the two countries.

“I congratulate both the countries for making this day possible,” Abdul said.

The move to begin the trade across the LoC comes after a meeting between Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New York last month.

The trade startS from two points on the LoC - Poonch-Rawlakote in Jammu and Srinagar-Muzaffarabad in Kashmir. Vehicles will be allowed to cross the LoC for the first time since 1948, as the trucks drive inside the Pakistani and Indian territory and unload.

“The problem of Kashmir is also linked to the closure of this historic route and as this route opens for trade today, I hope the road to a peaceful resolution of the problem would also be found soon,” Abdul told IANS.

“India and Pakistan must take pro-active steps to settle the problem once and forever.

“Nobody believed what we are witnessing today could be possible. If this has happened, why can’t permanent peace be resolved for people living in two parts of Kashmir?” he added.

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