Empowerment of Business Community

Reorganization of Jammu and Kashmir Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry

In November 2011, Conciliation Resources organised a meeting with presidents and other elected representatives of business Chambers from all regions of erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir in Istanbul, Turkey with the support of Mr. Ershad Mahmud, Executive Director CPDR and Mr. Zafar Choudhary, senior journalist based in Jammu.

The Istanbul meeting proved to be a major development towards enhancing Cross-Line of Control (LoC) cooperation in Jammu and Kashmir as ten major business organisations including the heads of four major Chambers and Federations of Industries from both sides of divide decided to form a formal, inclusive and properly elected apex Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The first ever written and signed agreement on non-governmental cooperation between different organisations of mutual interest from both sides of the Line of Control between Jammu and Kashmir was arrived at after a three-day long meeting held in Istanbul, Turkey from November 26 to 28. The agreement was reached between Presidents and other elected representatives of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), the Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AJK CCI), the Federation Chambers of Industries Kashmir (FCIK), the Federation of Industries Jammu (FIJ), the Gilgit-Baltistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GB CCI), the Merchants Association Ladakh, the associations and councils of Cross Line of Control (LoC) traders from all four trading points (Tetrinot-Chakan-da-Bagh on Poonch-Rawalakot route and Salamabad-Chakothi on Srinagar-Muzaffarabad routes) and the Intra-Kashmir Trade Union.

First of its kind of civil society initiative to put in place a formal structure of cooperation was an inherent desire of the stakeholders to compliment a series of India-Pakistan Confidence Building Measures on reviving ties across the Line of Control between both sides of Jammu and Kashmir.

While acknowledging the fact that a Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry was agreed upon by three constituent Chambers in October 2008 which could not realise its full potential due its limited scope of consultations, the participant representatives of different Chambers decided to organise the new body in an inclusive, participatory and sustainable manner.

To emerge as a formally constituted, properly elected and fully representative body of industry and trade organisations drawn from all regions in both, Indian and Pakistani, sides of Line of Control the meeting discussed and agreed that the Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry shall represent not only interests of the ongoing Cross-LoC trade but also work towards other possibilities of cooperation across the Line of Control with larger objective of building peace and trust between the regions.

Following are the broad contours of nine-point agreement which was signed by 17 participants representing all Chambers, Federations of Industries and associations of Cross-LoC traders:

The Jammu and Kashmir Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (J&K JCCI) shall be comprised of 44 member General Body equally drawn from both sides of Line of Control. Further, the agreement clearly spelled out composition of membership between all partner organisations. Eight members of the General Body will be reserved for the cross LoC traders, four from each side (Tetrinot-Chakan-da-Bagh and Salamabad-Chakothi trading points) and the J&K JCCI shall integrate the Joint Federation of Cross-LoC Traders after its proper establishment.
A proper constitution and terms of association for the J&K JCCI shall be drafted by a ten member committee before March 31, 2012 and approved by Executive Committee before April 30, 2012. The ten-member committee shall be drawn from constituent partners in equal numbers from both sides of LoC.
The President shall be elected by the defined Electoral College and will assume office January 1 each year and Presidency will rotate between the sides of LoC on early basis. Honouring the agreement reached between the founding members of the J&K JCCI in 2008, the Presidency of the J&K JCCI will be transferred to a member from the Valley of Kashmir who will be elected by the 11 members of the aforementioned Electoral College in the Valley of Kashmir.
To facilitate the above processes the participants requested Conciliation Resources to provide assistance and agreed that Ershad Mahmud (Executive Director, Centre for Peace, Development and Reform, Azad Jammu and Kashmir) and Zafar Choudhary (Honourary Director, Indus Research Foundation, Jammu) would act as liaison with Conciliation Resources in this regard to supervise the implementation of the agreement.

Signatories to the agreement on formation of Joint Chamber:

1. Abdul Majeed Gilwan Merchant’s Association, Ladakh
2. Annil Suri President of FIJ, Jammu
3. Khawaja Tariq Mahmood Wani President Industrial Estate Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu and Kashmir
4. Khurshid Ahmad Mir President Intra Kashmir Trade Union, Muzaffarabad
5. Javed Hussain President G-B CCI, Gilgit-Baltistan
6. Mahmood Ahmad Dar LoC Trader, Poonch
7. Dr. Mubeen Ahmad Shah ex-president of KCCI and nominated by Mr Abdul Hamid Punjabi (President of KCCI)
8. Dr. Muhammad Akram Choudhary President of AJKCCI, Mirpur
9. Nazir Ahmed Shikari General Secretary of Federation Chamber of Industries, Srinagar
10. Pawan Anand President of the Chamber of Cross-LoC traders J&K and President of Poonch Cross-LoC traders council, Poonch
11. Raja Muhammad Jameel President of Bimber Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Mirpur
12. Raja Zahoor Khan Cross-LoC Traders Association Salamabad-Chakothi route, Srinagar
13. Rajiv Tandon Poonch-Rawalakote Traders Council, Poonch
14. Sardar Khashan Masood Khan President LoC Trade Council in Rawalakot, Hajeera
15. Tariq Khan President of Cross-LoC Traders Association Salamabad-Chakothi route, Srinagar
16. YV Sharma President of JCCI, Jammu
17. Zulfiqar Abbasi President of J&K JCCI, Mirpur

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