Is Kashmir a hurdle in India-Pak trade

India “occupied” Kashmir in 1947. Travel between the two countries continued till 1951 and the trade continued till 1965. Though there were brief breaks in trade, opportunists and profit-oriented businessmen resumed trade secretly whenever they could. At the time of the Kargil war in 1999, the trade between India and Pakistan was not affected at all. Sugar-loaded trucks of Pakistani sugar-mafia were waiting in long queues at the Wagah border to enter India. The people did not face even a moral dilemma that our mujahids were losing their blood and lives in Kargil and we are making money by doing business with their blood. Nawaz Sharif felt so bad about the war that as soon as he was exiled, he opened a steel mill for which he hired all Indian engineers. A former N-League governor of Punjab once said to this author that there were no good engineers in Pakistan and that is why they had to hire engineers from India.

After being invited for an oath-taking ceremony by Narendra Modi, Nawaz Sharif refused to meet Kashmiri separatist leaders and spent his time with Indian business tycoons. Bilawal Bhutto while talking about 5 August 2019, tends to overlook the fact that his mother Benazir Bhutto had removed the weather report on India-occupied Kashmir from PTV’s broadcasting, a foundation stone on a Murre Highway, and a board of the Kashmiri House when Rajiv Gandhi was on a visit to Pakistan. In many disputes across the world, the countries neither fight a war nor stop trade, like China-Hong Kong or the Soviet Union and America. The issue between India and Pakistan is a lack of trust. In India, Pakistan-phobia is being fueled and in Pakistan, India is considered as enemy number one. But they share borders and geography. They can do trade at much less expense with each other than with other countries. If we want to do trade with India, we can go ahead. Anyways, we are not free to decide. Most of our decisions are taken in the White House. If President Biden decides that Pakistan needs to resume trade with India, we would not be able to do much and would have to follow the order.

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