LoC trade hits fresh road block

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SRINAGAR: Hours after it resumed after remaining suspended since January 17, the trade via Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route was again closed down as trucks from this part of Kashmir returned without unloading their consignment in Pakistan Administered Kashmir.

Official sources said that more than twenty trucks from this Kashmir returned back after their drivers were troubled by “hectic” checking measures in other part of Kashmir.

“By checking, the Pak authorities meant to unload entire truck load which would have resulted in damage to consignments. However, drivers objected to it and decided to return along with load,” one of the official said based on the report by the drivers.        

Earlier, four trucks from Pakistani side of Kashmir arrived here and returned back after unloading the consignment at Trade Facilitation Centre. 

On January 17, the trade between the two sides was suspended after Jammu and Kashmir Police arrested a Pakistani driver Mohammad Shafiq Awan on charges of smuggling drugs into the Valley. To demand the driver’s release, the Pakistani officials detained 27 Kashmiri drivers for over 26 days. However, on February 12, the officials of both the sides agreed to allow the stranded drivers to return to their respective destinations ending the standoff. 

Confirming the reports, Salamabad- Chakoti Trade Union general Secretary Hilal Turki said that the incident was unfortunate and that the authorities of both the sides have to evolve a mechanism of checking the loaded trucks. He stated further that it is hoped that the issue will be resolved on priority in future.

Turki added that 4 trucks from Pak entered Salemabad trade centre and unloaded their consignments in usual procedure. “All the four trucks were loaded with spices and fruit,” Turki said. 

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