By Aseem Bassi
After the ‘tadka’ of Indian tomatoes and vegetables in Pakistani kitchens, it is time for Pakistani newspapers to be printed on Indian newsprint – without taking the circuitous route via Dubai. Indian newsprint will now be exported directly through Attari border in Punjab’s Amritsar district.
Amritsar-based Khanna Paper Mills, a major manufacturer of newsprint, has got orders from across the border from two newspaper establishments.
Dawn and the Jang Group have placed an order of 5 tonnes each, and the first newsprint consignment will be sent to Pakistan through the newly-inaugurated Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Attari on Thursday.
Till recently, India could not send newsprint directly to Pakistan. It used to export newsprint to Dubai, from where Pakistan would import it.
But that changed with a renewed India-Pakistan trade policy. “With the ICP operational and change in trade policy, Pakistan will receive Indian newsprint from a distance of just 60 km,” Kochhar said. “We now want Pakistan to allow transit of all commodities, along with newsprint, so we can export it to central Asia through Attari border.”
For the past 10 years, vegetables, dry fruits, gypsum, chemicals, rock salt and some other commodities were being exchanged through this route.
Suneet Kochhar, director of Khanna Paper Mills, said, “Newspapers are very expensive there. Once we start exporting newsprint, they will become cheap.”