Indo-Pak study calls for cross-LOC trade in J&K

Indo-Pak study calls for cross-LOC trade in J&K

New Delhi: As India and Pakistan get ready for cross-LoC trade on Uri-Muzaffarabad and Poonch- Rawalakote routes from 21 October, an Indo-Pak study has suggested opening of five cross-LOC trade points between Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

The study, supported by a US-based research institute, has urged both New Delhi and Islamabad to consider possibility of permitting cross-LOC trade from the five points opened for earthquake relief in 2005 when PoK was badly hit.

“The possibility of border trade being permitted at five crossing points opened for earthquake relief is worth exploring for the convenience of people living on both sides of the Line of Control (LOC)," recommends the study titled “Making Borders Irrelevant" undertaken by New Delhi-based Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) and supported by Washington-based United States Institute of Peace (USIP).

Released just ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s call for making “borders irrelevant" at a rally in Jammu and Kashmir yesterday, the study said the roads that lead to these five crossing points could be upgraded to permit truck traffic, provided “it is commercially viable and official fears about smuggling can be overcome."

Observing that “border trade" was different from normal bilateral trade, the study also looked into the traditional export route for timber from the Kashmir Valley before partition through the Jhelum river flowing into Pakistan.