Cross border Kashmir trade ends Din’s long wait for Peshawari slippers

October 21st, 2008 - 6:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Salamabad (Jammu and Kashmir) Oct 21 (IANS) Muhammad Din, 80, a resident of Uri town in Jammu and Kashmir, still fondly remembers the beautifully embroidered Peshawari chappals (slippers) he would wear as a young man. Now with the re-opening of the India-Pakistan trade route Tuesday linking the two sides of Kashmir after 60 years, Din is waiting to get a new pair from Pakistan after so many years.Din was among the large number of Kashmiris gathered at Salamabad to witness the resumption of trade on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road Tuesday.

“I was less than 20 years old when my father drove a bullock cart laden with apples in willow wicker baskets to Rawalpindi,” Din told IANS.

“We had no wooden boxes or paper boxes to carry fruits those days,” the octogenarian recalled.

“The bullocks were the only carriers then. The small bells around the bullocks’ necks jingled and that jingle during the night used to be music to the people on the Jhelum Valley Road, as this road was then called, as it announced the arrival of goods from Rawalpindi.

“The sound of the roaring Jhelum river, along which the road runs, mingled with the jingling bells of the bullock carts,” Din said, recalling the days of his youth.

Though Din is not part of the VVIP guest list that has assembled at this trade facilitation centre, his presence is more symbolic than anybody else’s here.

“I have relations across the border and I am looking forward to my favourite Peshawari chappals I proudly wore those days,” a visibly happy Din said.

Luckily for Din, the trade list from Muzaffarabad includes his favourite slippers.

Hopefully as the trade and human interaction pick up between the two parts of divided Kashmir, Din would soon get to sit proudly on the front seat of a trade truck carrying his walnuts to Muzaffarabad.

Of course, not without proudly flaunting his favourite Peshwari slippers.

Cross-LoC trade on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawlakote routes began for the first time since 1948, when commercial ties snapped following the India-Pakistan war a year after the bloody partition of the subcontinent.

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