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Cross-LoC traders urge upon both Indian and Pakistan to immediately resume trade and travel at LoC

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MIRPUR (AJK): “The suspension of cross-LoC trade and Rawalakot-Poonch trans-LoC bus service at the Line of Control (LoC) for three straight weeks sparks grave concern among traders as well as divided families across the Jammu Kashmir. In a joint press statement, issued here on Saturday the joint business community leaders from both sides of the line of control in Jammu and Kashmir said that the cross-LoC trade has enormous symbolic value for the people of Jammu and Kashmir as it not only connects people but also provides livelihood to a large number of families living near the line of control. The traders engaged in cross-LoC trade urged Governments of India and Pakistan not to politicise the trade and travel, which are considered the major confidence building measures (CBM) so far between India and Pakistan over Kashmir conflict. These are the only CBMs which have managed to survive through thick and thin.
The cross-LoC trade from Teitrinote-Chakan-da-bagh trade point is suspended since last four weeks following the reported exchange of fire between Indian and Pakistani forces at the LoC in Poonch sector. Sardar Kazeem Khan President of the Joint Federation of LoC traders in Poonch, a cross-LoC body, Joint President Mr Pawan Annand, General Secretary Mr Rajeev Tandan from Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir and Joint Secretary Sardar Insar Khan have jointly asked both the Islamabad and New Delhi to resume trade and travel on the priority bases.
According to Sardar Kazeem, cross-LoC trade is the only CBM which have survived and sustained in all odd situation even during the peak time of cross LoC hostilities. “Despite the tension along the LoC, the cross-LoC traders have stood up for the sustainability of the trade, but this time it seems that authorities on both sides are lss interested in the cross-LoC trade and travel,” he adds. “Some elements on the Indian side of LoC are continuously propagating to stop the trade while on the Pakistani side neither authorities nor political leadership has shown any interest in the issue,” Khan said.Due to the suspension of trade and bus service, hundreds of the people who want to visit either side of the LoC are unable to visit their relative while dozens of traders are yet waiting for their consignments from across LoC.Meanwhile, hundreds of daily wages labourer and truck drivers engaged in the movement of consignments across the zero line went jobless for past many weeks.
The cross-LoC trade took off on 21 October 2008 simultaneously from Chakothi-Slamabad and Tetrinote-Chakan-da-Bagh and had gone through several ups and down over the years.

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