New chapter in Indo-Pak trade begins

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Wagah, Oct 1 (UNI) A new chapter was today added in the history of Indo-Pakistan trade, when a truck loaded with tomatoes crossed the Radcliff Line into Pakistan through this joint border road check post.

The lone Indian truck 'armed' with a customs permit went upto the Customs Terminal on the Pakistan side of the check post. After off loading the tomatoes the truck again returned to India.

Three Pakistani trucks containing dry fruits were to cross the zero line into India, but as per latest reports the vehicles had not yet reported on the other side of the check post. As per the trade agreement between the two countries the trucks from across the border having a valid customs permit would off load the goods at the Indian Customs Terminal before returning back to Pakistan.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal flagged off the Indian truck amid much fanfare. The Chief Minister later told mediapersons that cross border trade through the road checkpost would be benefical for Punjab, particularly the agricultural sector.

Senior officials of the Indian and Pakistani Customs had held a meeting at the check post yesterday to finalise the movement of trucks on either side of the border. The movement of trucks is part of the bilateral trade agreement signed recently between the two countries.

This is for the first time in 60 years that a truck from India crossed over into Pakistan through this check post. This mode of trade at the check post is likely to effect the livelihood of the 'coolies' (porters) who used to carry the goods for export on their heads from the Customs Terminal to the Radcliffe Line and vice-versa in case of import items.

The bulk of the trade with Pakistan had been conducted through the rail route connecting Attari with Lahore. Occasionally trucks loaded with vegetables, meat and other food items were allowed by the Indian Customs to proceed upto the Radcliffe Line, where these were off loaded. But such a permission was only given following an urgent demand for a particular item from across the border.

UNI

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