SIALKOT, Sept 30: The Sept 11 terrorist attack in the US has brought down the production of sports, surgical and leather goods manufacturing factories of export-oriented Sialkot to 45 per cent.

Export Promotion Bureau officials told Dawn that despite peak autumn and winter seasons for leather jackets no fresh orders had been received from Europe and the United States.

In Germany and other European countries, citizens were being advised not to travel to Sialkot which had resulted in the cancellation of several orders. Scores of buyers had also returned from Karachi, they said.

Since the sale of leather jackets picked up in the month of September in Europe and the USA, factories in Sialkot were supposed to work round-the-clock to meet the demand of foreign buyers, they said. On the contrary, they said, leather factories were working only half of their capacity, adding that a large scale retrenchment of skilled workers and labourers was feared.

They said that leather garments’ exports for winter and spring seasons would also be badly affected in view of the impending war threat.

Similarly, there was a major slump in the surgical instruments industry as they were also not getting any export orders from foreign buyers.

Exporters have decided to visit foreign customers to allay their fears of war in Pakistan.

They said closure of international flights had also adversely affected the exports from Sialkot.

In addition, the 100 dollars per container levy being charged by shipping companies as war risk premium had hit the exporters hard. They said it was ironic that the war risk premium was only applicable to Pakistan and Iran while India had been left out despite being in the war affected zone.

Exporters urged the EPB to take up the matter with the government so that the war risk levy either be withdrawn or reduced to a reasonable level.

Indian firing: Two villagers, including a woman, sustained serious injuries in firing by Indian security forces near the Sialkot working boundary here late Saturday night.

According to official sources, Abdul Hameed in Haarnanwali village of Charwa sector and Rubina Arshad of Kundanpur village of Sucheetgarh sector were sleeping in the courtyards of their houses when some stray bullets fired by Indians forces hit them. Both of them sustained injuries and were taken to hospital.

Meanwhile, the Chenab Rangers turned the tables on Indians who fled towards their bunkers. The Indians, in the meanwhile, opened fire on their colleagues, injuring four of them seriously, the sources said.

The sources confirmed that the Chenab Rangers once again thwarted two major Indian attempts of fencing Sialkot’s Bajwat and Jammu sectors, destroying two Indian pillars in the Jammu sector.

A body was found near Kundal post of Bajwat. A huge quantity of explosive was also found in a bag near the body.

LICENCE FEE: Increase in the annual TV licence fee by Rs50 has been resented in both Sialkot and Narowal districts.

People have urged the authorities concerned to withdraw the rise in the licence fee immediately.

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