Pak dresses stop coming via LoC, traders disappointed

Following the indefinite suspension of cross-LoC trade in Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistani designer dresses which were trending in the Valley for many years are not so readily available in the market to the huge disappointment of shoppers, especially women. PTI file photo for representation only

Following the indefinite suspension of cross-LoC trade in Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistani designer dresses which were trending in the Valley for many years are not so readily available in the market to the huge disappointment of shoppers, especially women.
 
Pakistani top designer brands have a huge demand in Kashmir and especially during festivities females throng Srinagar markets for shopping. However, this Eid, the choices are either limited or the prices have escalated. 
 
Hardening its stand against Pakistan, the government of India last month indefinitely suspended cross-LoC trade at two points along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, following reports that it was being 
 
“misused” by elements from across the border to smuggle weapons, narcotics and fake currency. 
 
The Center while divulging the reasons for suspending the trade said during ongoing investigations of terror funding cases, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has found a significant number of trading concerns engaged in the LoC trade were being operated by persons closely associated with banned terrorist outfits.
 
Around 280 traders, who were directly involved in the trading have also been affected after the suspension of the business, which had touched Rs 6,900 crore since its inception in October 2008.
 
“Our business has been badly affected after cross-LoC trade stopped abruptly. We are unable to meet the demand in the market,” said a cross-LoC trader, who deals in Pakistani designer wear.
 
He said they had started importing Pakistani designer suits via Dubai. “But it has escalated the prices hugely and made them unaffordable for customers,” he added.
 
Some of the leading Pakistani designer brands which are popular in Kashmir include Gul Ahmad, Sana Safinaz, Junaid Jamshed, Maria B, Bareeze and Chinyere. The dresses include stitched and unstitched, floor-touching embroidered apparels, bridal collections, kaftans, and many sorts of Pakistani fashion wear for women.
 
Siama Ashraf, the owner of ‘Style Chamber Kashmir’, a home-based fashion store, says prices of Pakistani suits have increased up to 50 per cent after the suspension of Cross LoC trade.
 
Romisa, a student at a women college in Srinagar says that she always preferred Pakistani dresses due to their superior designs, fabric, and because of reasonable prices. “However, now the prices have increased at least by 50% and I have decided not to buy any suites this Eid,” she said.
 
In October 2008, as a confidence-building measure, India and Pakistan agreed to carry out trade along the LoC through the Uri-Muzaffarabad route in Kashmir and the Poonch-Rawalakot route in Jammu. Both countries agreed on a list of 21 items – restricted to goods produced in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir or Jammu and Kashmir – that could be traded. 
 
Cross-LoC trade was the second confidence-building measure between the two countries after a cross-LoC bus service, which was launched in April 2005.

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