Intra-Kashmir trade to be bankable

Hameed Shaheen

ISLAMABAD: The ongoing intra-Kashmir barter trade will soon become a bankable commercial exercise to make it more profitable and trustworthy.

Pakistan Observer learnt through reliable open sources Wednesday that the prime demand of the intra-Kashmiri traders for making the current 21-item restricted barter trade has received serious notice of authorities at relevant levels.

As part of Kashmir related CBMs both Pakistan and Hindustan had agreed on September 25, 2008 in a New York meeting between President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to a 21-item barter trade across two road points in J&K : Chakothi and Chakkanda Bagh. Accordingly it was formally opened on October 21, 2008. Since then it continues but with some pause punctuations caused by the regional political temperature.

Traders from both sides visited each side of the deivide and had demanded introduction of banking system to accelerate the intra-Kashmir trade. Occupied Kashmir traders enjoy the shortest commercial outlet from Srinagar to Muzaffarabad to Pakistan markets and even beyond.

Zulfikar Abbasi, president AJK Chamber of Commerce and Industries, told that once international tourist traffic is allowed via Muzaffarabad-Chakothi highway into Baramullah and Srinagar, both parts of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will spur into the richest region in South Asia.

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