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Ban on gemstone trade lifted after four years in G-B

A four-year old ban on the trade of gemstones in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) was lifted on Thursday, restoring the income of nearly 10,000 families associated with the sector, express tribune reported.
The directives came from Chief Secretary Sikandar Sultan, overturning the ban which was imposed by the previous government on the recommendations of the bureaucracy “in order to streamline the trade” by forming mining laws. The mining laws, however, were never drafted during the erstwhile government’s tenure, even as gemstone dealers left no stone unturned in hopes of the ban being abolished.
The federal government later expedited the process after Mehdi Shah’s government completed its term in December last year, paving the way for an interim set-up.
“Till the approval of the mining laws by the federal government, traders are allowed to continue their business as per the previous pattern,” Munir Johar, an official at the information department, said while referring to a meeting chaired by the chief secretary. “The chief secretary has directed staff not to obstruct gemstone traders at police check posts,” added Johar.

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