Trade across LoC may help improve Indo-Pak peace: PILDAT | Pakistan Today

Trade across LoC may help improve Indo-Pak peace: PILDAT

ISLAMABAD – The trust developed through small barter trade taking place between Indian held Kashmir and Azad Kashmir has provided some former militants peaceful, non-violent role and alternative vision for change and conflict transformation despite considerable obstacles being faced by traders living on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC).
“The cross border relationships of trust developed through trade have proved to have resilience to political turmoil and have begun to establish a ‘bottom up’ approach to peace-building. Trade has attracted divided families and some former combatants and provided a non-violent alternative vision for change and conflict transformation,” stated a study, ‘Discussion papers on Jammu and Kashmir trade across the Line of Control’, launched by Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency (PILDAT) here on Tuesday.
The discussion papers also identified problems which restrict and hamper this intra-Kashmir trade, initiated in 2008 and takes place two days a week on barter system due to absence of banking facilities. Currently trade of only 21 items is allowed across the LoC. Different panelists speaking on the launching ceremony lauded trade and commerce as a tool to minimise tension and enhance inter-dependence between the two countries and ultimately lead to conflict resolution.
Dr Hassan-Askari Rizvi, a prominent political analyst, said that a practical effort is being made on how to engage in conflict management and conflict resolution. He said that if trade and commerce was increased, tension and conflict could be minimized by creating stakeholders on both sides and allowing greater human interaction.
Ayesha Saeed and Arif Kamal, the authors of the papers, presenting their views said that Intra-Kashmir trade is not just another CBM, it is in fact the first-ever CBM which directly benefits the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Inter-dependence rather inter-connection could benefit people across the LoC. They said that for sustainability of the trade, it must be kept in mind that both sides should benefit equally from the trade.
They also added that logistical and other hindrances could harm the trade. Jammu and Kashmir’s Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industries President Zulfiqar Abbasi said that conflict of Kashmir turned the paradise on the earth into hell with extreme poverty, untapped economic potential and dependency on others due to being region of conflict.

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