Hurdles remain in India-Pakistan trade relations: Pakistan daily
Pakistani trucks loaded with gypsum wait for signal from Indian customs before crossing into India at the Integrated Check Post, at Attari (Amritsar)
Islamabad: India and Pakistan must realise that trade normalisation and peace will continue to face setbacks unless they commit themselves to preventing incidents like the arrest of truck drivers, a leading Pakistani daily said Wednesday.
The Dawn said in an editorial that the resumption of intra-Kashmir trade, after being suspended over the arrest of a Pakistani driver by the Indian authorities for allegedly possessing drugs, "is a positive development".
However, the two countries have failed to settle the issue related to the driver's arrest that had led to a complete halt in trade between the two nations, it said.
It said: "What has happened at the Line of Control (LoC) has again raised doubts about the sustainability of the process of trade normalisation between Pakistan and India".
Many trucks drivers remain stranded on opposite sides of the LOC because of the incident, it said.
The suspension of trade over a single incident of such nature does not help the proponents of a better relationship between the two nations.
"It reflects the vulnerability of the two sides to isolated acts of individuals," it said.
Relatives and friends of the drivers had protested and threatened to block the movement of goods unless the arrested driver is released soon, the editorial said.
But trade between India and Pakistan has gained momentum since the resumption of the commerce secretary-level discussions last month.
"Islamabad has decided to implement some important measures to remove impediments in the way of normal commercial and business ties with New Delhi.
"India is anticipating the grant of non-discriminatory market access -- as an alternative to the controversial most favoured nation status -- for its goods to Pakistani markets when its trade minister visits Lahore to inaugurate the second Made-in-India Show later this month," the editorial said.
There are also reports that "Pakistan may allow trade transit facilities to India" under a multilateral pact.