IOK to miss fragrance, tenderness of Pakistani Miswak

Srinagar, May 10 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, miswak, the teeth-cleaning twig, is always in huge demand in Kashmir during Ramadan but this year the popular ones from Pakistan are missing from the market due to continued suspension of trade across the Line of Control (LoC).

Abdul Wasey, owner of Aligarh Attar House, a shop at Maisuma market in Srinagar said, “People will miss the softness and fragrance of imported quality miswaks this Ramadan, especially the main two varieties Zaytoon and Peelu.”

He said he would sell more than 15,000 sticks of miswak during the holy month, which meant a profit of more than Rs 30,000. However, he is now running into losses as the supply didn’t reach him following the suspension of cross-LoC trade.

“I have bought some pieces of Indian variety from New Delhi but those are not so popular,” Wasey said. He said, “Customers ask for Pakistani miswak due to its tenderness, fragrance and quality.”

Miswak is a natural toothbrush-cum-paste obtained from Salvadora Persica, a tree popularly known as peelu in Pakistan and arak in Arab countries.

Rayees Ahmad Koul, a trader, said that twigs from Pakistan would cater to a huge market in Kashmir and many parts of India. “But now we are not able to meet the demand after the cross-LoC trade was suspended,” he deplored.

“There are many trucks stranded across the LoC carrying nearly 7,000 cartons of Pakistani miswak. Each carton carries 720 pieces of sticks which means more than 50 lakh sticks,” he said.

“If trade continues to remain suspended we will turn bankrupt,” said another trader, Sajid Banday.

The cross LoC trade through the Uri route was suspended in March after the authorities cited repair work on the Kaman Aman Setu bridge, which connects the occupied Kashmir with Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

“We have appealed to the authorities to end the suspension order on cross LoC trade because hundreds of traders are dependent on the business,” said Hilal Turkie, Chairman of Cross LoC Traders Union.


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