The cross-LoC trade between Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) remained suspended for the fourth consecutive week amid reports that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) may recommend suspension of trade activities along these routes. The trade across the Line of Control (LoC) was suspended on July 11 after heavy firing and shelling from the Pakistani side caused damage to trade facilitation centres and police barracks. “The cross-LoC trade between traders of J&K and PoK remained suspended for the fourth consecutive week,” Custodian of LoC Trade Poonch, Mohammad Tanveer told PTI today. He said the suspension of trade along LoC has led to a loss of Rs 25-30 crore. The cross-LoC bus services on the Poonch-Rawalakot road between Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) also remained suspended for the fourth consecutive week. As many as 116 PoK residents, who traveled on Paigam-e-Amun bus service to visit their kin in Kashmir, have been held up here for past three weeks. Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed worst border skirmishes along LoC as nine soldiers were among 11 people killed last month. Eighteen people were injured besides 35 structures were damaged in July, officials said. Cross-LoC trade and transport facilities are considered major confidence building exercises between India and Pakistan. The LoC trade has been caught in a controversy over reports that the NIA, which is probing terror funding in Kashmir, may recommend closure of trade along these routes.
However, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti last week strongly rooted for cross-LoC trade, stating that the PDP would not allow its closure and continue to work towards opening more routes across the Line of Control with Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
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Addressing a rally on the 18th foundation day of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), she also pitched for nominating members to the legislative assembly from the other side of LoC so that joint meetings could be held once in a year. “There are many difficulties through the Wagah border, charas and ganja comes from there but no one talks about closing it. Just because a mistake happens on the Srinagar- Muzaffarabad road, we should not talk about closing it. We will not allow that to happen,” the chief minister had said.
On July 21, police had seized 66.5 kg of heroin and brown sugar worth Rs 300 crore from a truck coming from PoK.