MIRPUR (AJK) - The Jammu & Kashmir Joint Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the sole joint forum of the business community from across the Line of Control emphasized the need for the establishment Free Trade Zone on either sides of the LoC to make the trade a success and bring about economic prosperity on both sides.

In his telephone address from Srinagar to a joint press conference the newly-elected Jammu & Kashmir Joint Chamber of Commerce & Industry (JKJCCI) Dr Mubeen Hussain Shah and the outgoing JKJCCI President Zulfiqar Abbasi in person at the AJK Chamber of Commerce & Industry offices complex here called upon the governments of Pakistan and India to move for introduction of liberal regime if they sincerely want cross-LoC trade flourished on either sides of the LoC in Jammu & Kashmir State. Leading business community stalwarts from various parts of AJK including Chairman Mirpur Dry Port Trust Raja M Jamil, JKJCCI Advisor for Promotion of Cross-LoC Trade Ershad Mahmood, President AJKCCI Dr M Akram Khan, Sr Vice President Muhammad Mubeen Khan, President Cross-LoC Trade Council of AJK Kashaan Masood, Ejaz Rehmani, President Kotli Chamber of Commerce & Industry Sardar Shahid Mahmood and other leading traders engaged in Cross-LoC trade were also present on the occasion.

Speaking to the media, the newly-elected JKJCCI president suggested intra-Kashmir cooperation between the entrepreneur from both sides of the LoC in tourism, environment and hydel power sector besides the promotion of cross-LoC trade between both parts of the state AJK and Indian occupied Kashmir. Mubeen called for the permission of transit trade by Pakistan from Indian-occupied Kashmir to Afghanistan, Central Asian states and the middle east countries via AJK and Pakistan for strengthening the economic conditions of both sides of the LoC in Kashmir. He also particularly urged for raising the number of items for the bilateral trade on LoC to ensure increased the volume of the cross-LoC transactions of the traded items.

“Pakistani and Indian government should introduce the banking facilities at the crossing points at the LoC to facilitate the traders for exchanging tmoney of the trans-LoC invoiced items”, he urged. He pointed out that the banking facility could get the Indian-occupied Kashmir Cross-LoC traders rid of the frequent undue excesses who usually victimize the Kashmiri traders framing charges of the illegal transaction of money through ‘Hundi’ and other unlawful means - denying the existing reality of the exchange of trans-LoC trade through barter system.

The JKJCCI also urged the Indian government to allow the same mobile telephone facilities for the traders of occupied Kashmir as was being enjoyed by their counterparts in Azad Jammu & Kashmir.

Talking to the media, outgoing JKJCCI President Zulfiqar Abbasi and other leaders of the business community of AJK facilitated the newly-elected President of JKJCCI and assured full cooperation to him on behalf of the business community of AJK for the promotion of trade activities at both sides of the LoC, encouraging the cross-LoC trade, and for the emergence of peace in the region.

Abbasi said that the business fraternity of all regions of the state of Jammu & Kashmir at both sides of the Line of Control, unanimously reposed full confidence in the leadership of Dr Mubeen Shah by electing him as President of the JKJCCI for next one year constitutional period. The unopposed election of Dr Mubeen as the JKJCCI President is the continuation of the recent meeting of the business fraternity of all regions of Jammu & Kashmir state held in Turkish metropolis Istanbul, Zulfiqar Abbasi.

Abbasi particularly lauded the role of eminent London-based international NGO - Conciliation Resource for facilitating the business community of both sides of the line of control in Jammu & Kashmir through hosting their joint meeting in Istanbul a couple of months ago with assistance of its regional partners Centre for Peace, Development and Reforms-CPDR (Mirpur) and Indus Research Foundation (Jammu) under the spirit to reorganize their joint forum - the JKJCCI.

The outgoing president of JK-JCCI congratulated Mubeen Shah and pledged full support to the new president and his team. He hoped that new president will pick up thread where he left it and take this business endeavour to the new heights