Kashmiris threaten to suspend border trade with Pakistan

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Srinagar, Jan 19 (ANI): Fruit growers and exporters of Kashmir trading across the line of control (LoC) with Pakistan administered Kashmir threaten to suspend their trade from next week if their demands for lifting ban on certain essential commodities are not met.

Addressing a news conference here on Monday, the traders accused Indian and Pakistani authorities for turning a deaf ear to their repeated demand to lift the embargo.

"We usually send 100 loaded vehicles in a week, but today we are sending only 30 vehicles in protest against the ban... If we will not receive any positive signal then we will go on strike from next week," said Hilal Ahmad, Spokesman Kashmir LoC traders Association, Srinagar.

The traders also accused their counterparts based in Amritsar for sabotaging the trade across the LoC with an aim to monopolise.

"If traders from Amritsar are doing trade then what Kashmiri will do? Our sentiments are involved with this trade. We made sacrifices for this trade... If traders from Amritsar continue with their trade then we will stage massive protests," added Ahmad.

India and Pakistan allowed limited trade across the frontline in October 2008, in an attempt to create 'soft borders' allowing the movement of goods through Poonch-Rawalakot route in Jammu region and Uri-Muzaffarabad route in Kashmir region.

Both Indian and Pakistan governments have banned trade of essential commodities like garlic, dry fruits such as grapes, and pulses among others. Traders from both sides have been demanding lifting the ban on these items. (ANI)

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