By Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury, ET Bureau
Over 36 trucks carrying goods to and from China are stranded at the Sust Dry Port in Khunjerab Pass due to this ongoing dispute between Pakistani traders and government officials.
A newly introduced web-based customs clearance system is proving to be an inconvenience to China-Pakistan trade through the Khunjerab Pass in Gilgit in PoK, an important part of the China-Pakistan-Economic-Corridor (CPEC), the flagship project of Beijing's belt and road initiative.
For about a month now, traders in the town of Gilgit (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) have reportedly been refusing to clear their consignments through the web-based one customs (WeBOC) system, saying Internet service in the region is not dependable and that they are not educated enough to learn the WeBOC system.
People in the know said traders fear that the new system will render thousands of people jobless. The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), which has introduced We-BOC, however says the online system will make trade through the Pakistan-China border easy and help improve dry ports operations across the country.
These traders have the backing of the Gilgit-Baltistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GBCCI) and other trade organisations in the region.
The CPEC is China's flagship project under its belt and road initiative, which aims to link the country with economies in southeast and central Asia. India has concerns regarding the CPEC as it overlaps with PoK.
At the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation(SCO) summit this weekend, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to reiterate the country’s reservation over connectivity projects like CPEC that violate India's sovereignty and call for projects that are inclusive in nature.
Over 36 trucks carrying goods to and from China are stranded at the Sust Dry Port in Khunjerab Pass due to this ongoing dispute between Pakistani traders and government officials. The new clearance system was launched in April.