Uri attack: Punjab traders discuss severing trade ties with Pakistan

Chandigarh: Punjab traders dealing in import and export of goods with Pakistan on Monday sought a fitting reply in the aftermath of Uri attack, threatening to end Rs 3,000 crore worth of trade with the neighbouring country for the “heinous act”.

“Time has come for India to take strict and swift action against Pakistan which is responsible for the Uri terror attack that left our several soldiers dead,” Amritsar-based trader and President of Federation of Dry Fruit and Haryana Commercial Association, Anil Mehra, told PTI on Monday.

“The Modi government should suspend all sorts of ties with Pakistan in response to the terror attack unleashed on Indian soil,” Mehra suggested.

Noting that there is a great amount of anger against this terror attack, which left 18 soldiers dead, Mehra said traders in Punjab are ready to end trade ties with Pakistan through the Attari-Wagah land route.

“We urge the Centre to even stop trade with Pakistan through Attar-Wagah land route. We are ready for ending trade ties with the neighbouring country, which is responsible for such an attack. For us, the country comes first and then comes trade. We will do something else for our livelihood,” said Mehra.

Traders asserted that it is Pakistan which is the most dependent on India for import of goods like vegetables, including tomatoes, ginger, garlic and spices, cotton yarn and the like.

Pakistan exports cement, gypsum and dry fruits to the country via the Attari-Wagah land route.

“If we today stop sending tomatoes which has been the major export item to Pakistan, they will face immense shortage of this perishable commodity. Moreover, if we do not import dates from Pakistan, they will not find buyers for this,” he added.

Traders further said Pakistan had not even allowed export of onions to India last year when the country was facing shortage. India then imported onions from Afghanistan.

Pakistan allows import of 137 items from India through Attari-Wagah.

As per estimates, the total volume of trade between the two nations via Attari-Wagah is estimated at Rs 3,000 crore per annum.

India and Pakistan had resumed cross-border movement of trucks in October 2007 after a gap of sixty years from Attari check post at Amritsar in India to Wagah border in Pakistan.

An integrated check-post was set up on the Attari-Wagah border in 2012 at an estimated cost of Rs 150 crore for smooth movement of traffic.