Cross-LoC Trade Resumes Along Poonch-Rawalakot Road

Jammu—Cross-LoC trade between Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-controlled Kashmir (PcK) resumed Tuesday via the Poonch-Rawalakot road after remaining suspended for nearly four months, a government official said.

The resumption brought much relief to the traders as the loss for the suspended period was pegged at Rs 81 crore.

There was no ceasefire violation along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district for the past fortnight. The resumption of trade and travel followed a meeting between the civilian officials from both side son Friday last.

“One truck carrying goods from this side left Poonch for the trade facilitation centre at Chakan Da Bagh this morning, while two trucks came from across the LoC, marking the resumption of trade between the two sides after 17 weeks’ suspension, “Custodian of LoC trade (Poonch), Mohammad Tanveer told PTI.

The cross-LoC bus service was started along the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route in April 2005 and Poonch-Rawalakot road in June 2006 to facilitate trade and travel between the divided families of Jammu and Kashmir.

While the weekly bus operates on Monday, the trade takes place for four days beginning Tuesday.

The trade, which works on the barter system, between the two parts of Kashmir started in October 2008. According to official figures, goods worth Rs 1,500 crore have been traded since then.

The officials pegged the loss during the suspended period of 17 weeks at over Rs 81 crore.

Cross-LoC trade and transport facilities are considered major confidence building exercises between India and Pakistan.

Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed the highest number of border skirmishes between India and Pakistan along the LoC this year.

According to Indian Army figures, till August 1, there were 285 such violations by the Pakistan Army, while in 2016, the number was 228 for the entire year.

Eleven people, including nine soldiers, were killed and 18 injured in ceasefire violations by the Pakistan Army in July, according to army data.

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