Jalandhar: It was black Tuesday. Even as four soldiers were martyred and five injured in an encounter in Bandipora in North Kashmir, Pakistan was all set to participate in ‘South Asia Trade Fair and Consumer Expo 2017’ to be organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce & Industry (PHDCCI) in Jalandhar. The five-day event was all set to begin from February 16 at Desh Bhagat Yadgaar Hall in Jalandhar.
PHDCCI to organise five-day international trade fair with stalls from Iran, Egypt, China and Afghanistan
While three soldiers were martyred in Bandipora on Tuesday, two others were killed in action in Kulgam on February 12. Many soldiers were injured in this encounter too. The past six months saw escalating tension between India -Pakistan with increase in terrorist attacks and encounters.
The trade fair is being organised in association with Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI), Pakistan. Representatives from Pakistan including RCCI president Raja Amir Iqbal, Secretary Irfan Khan Manan and Khurshid Barlas would lead Pakistani traders in Jalandhar. The trade fair authorities claimed that this time, they were not conducting ‘Indo-Pak Expo’ but South Asia trade fair. Justifying Pakistan’s presence, the organisers said that a yearly calendar of the PHDCCI and RCCI is made in advance and visas were issued to the traders accordingly.
“During PITEX organised at Amritsar soon after Surgical Strike, Pakistan’s participation was minimal. A majority of the traders and Pakistani artists failed to get visas. Pakistani traders will take part in various trade fairs to be held in the country in the coming months,” trade fair organisers said.
It is pertinent to mention here that local residents were upset over soldiers losing lives at the border in terrorist attacks while Pakistan participating in the trade fair. “It was disheartening to see, soldiers dying in action and no thaw in Indo-Pak relations. Post Uri attack and surgical strike, there has been a spate in terrorist attacks but Pakistan was participating in trade fairs in India,” they said.