Cross-LoC trade remains suspended

Cross-LoC trade remains suspended

Cross-LoC trade remains suspended
Three days after police seized a large quantity of drugs from a truck travelling from Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) to this side, the cross LoC trade between the two sides remained suspended on Tuesday.

"We have received a letter from authorities on the other side (of the LoC) saying the trade on Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route will remain suspended for this week," a senior state official said here and added that no reasons were given for suspending the trade.

Jammu and Kashmir Police had on Friday seized 66.5 kilograms of heroin worth Rs 300 crore from a truck that originated from PoK during a routine check in border town of Uri in Baramulla district. The truck driver a PoK man named Syed Yousuf was arrested and a case under various sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act (NDPSA) was registered by the police.

Sources said police have zeroed in on a fabric businessman and his relative, who are believed to be responsible for the drug consignment.

Pertinently, the cross-LoC trade between divided parts of Kashmir began in October 2008. The trade takes place four times a week from Tuesday to Friday through the Salamabad in Kashmir and the Chakan-Da- Bagh crossing point in Jammu region. According to the cross-LoC trade agreement between India and Pakistan, products grown on both sides of Jammu and Kashmir can be exchanged under the barter system.

However, the trade which began as the major confidence-building measures between the two neighbouring countries has hit the rough weather several times. In August 2013, the trade was suspended when police recovered cocaine worth Rs 10 crore from a truck, at Sheeri in Uri sector.

Again in January 2014, the authorities seized drugs worth nearly Rs 100 crore from a truck coming from PoK, which led to stalemate in the trade for over a month. However, Friday's seizure of drug haul is one of the biggest in Jammu and Kashmir.

In March, police had arrested a driver in Baramulla who was transporting pistols, grenades and assorted ammunition from across the PoK. Intelligence agencies have been from time to time warning that some traders doing business across the LoC were diverting money to fund militants and separatists in Jammu and Kashmir.

The National Investigation Agency had registered a case against unknown people in connection with the trade of California almonds across the LoC last year. Between 2008 when the barter trade started, till the end of 2016, according to NIA estimates, Pakistan has supplied about 34,000 trucks via Uri route worth Rs 2,000 crore while India has sent 22,000 trucks worth Rs 1,900 crore. This gap of Rs 100 core, the NIA suspects, was used to fund militancy and stone-pelting activities in the Valley.

However, sources, said, till now the NIA has not been able to establish any case against any suspected trader.

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