Traders protest against J-K govt. policies with Pak

Srinagar, Sept. 23 (ANI): Traders in Jammu and Kashmir on Monday protested against the Omar Abdullah-led state government for their trade policies with Pakistan, and said they were unjust and politically crafted.

General secretary of the Salamabad Chakote traders union, Hilal Turkey, said that traders incurred huge loss due to the apathy of the provincial government.

"This is complete partiality against our traders, we have millions of rupees stuck outside and through exchange of goods all the traders want to at least equalise with the market but the government is not budging," Turkey said.

"The confidence building measure, upon which our trade was started, has been closed for the last three weeks and the state government is not paying any heed to it," he added.

Traders, who walked with placards, raised slogans against the government's apathy towards their plight.

The protesting traders, who had gathered for the rally, were arrested and detained by the police.

On September 05, the protesting traders had, once again, demonstrated against the faulty policies of the government.

The protesters accused the customs department of changing and manipulating cross-border trade regulations, which started in 2008.

Additionally, they said that the Ministry of Interior Affairs had altered the rules to ensure that only trade between India and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) would be duty free.

In March, this year, the cross-border trade came to a standstill at the Chakan Da Bagh border outpost in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir, after one empty and one live bullet was found mixed in the almonds that were being imported by a trader, Abdul Ghani Dewan.

Trade between the two countries has suffered a massive setback, after increasing tension between the two armies along the Line of Control (LoC) has become a regular feature since August 6, when the Pakistani Army ambushed five Indian soldiers in Poonch District of Jammu and Kashmir.

On Sunday, the Indian Army retaliated as Pakistan breached the ceasefire, once again, in Poonch District along the LoC, casting further doubts over whether Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh will meet his counterpart Nawaz Sharif in New York next week.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh is scheduled to visit New York next week for the U.N. General Assembly, where he was scheduled to meet Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, but the recent border tension between the two countries has cast extreme doubts over talks going forward. (ANI)