Not communication breakdown but LoC tensions halted trade, says official

Srinagar: The routine trade between the divided Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday came to a grinding halt with at least fifty trucks laden with different items were returned from Kamam-Aman Setu Bridge in Uri in Baramulla district.

The cross Line of Control (LoC) trade – which is set to complete ten years in 2018 – was started as a confidence building measure (CBM) between India and Pakistan following the cross LoC bus which was flagged off in 2005 by the then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and former Chief Minister, late Mufti Muhammad Sayeed.

The trade between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad happens four days a week while the ‘peace’ bus travels across Kashmir every Monday and Thursday, however, the process depends on the situation along LoC.

“At least fifty trucks had to return from Kaman Bridge,” said Gh Muhammad Bhat. Bhat is the Custodian of Trade Facilitation Centre, Salamabad.

Speaking to the FreePressKashmir while on his way to Kaman bridge – which connects the divided Kashmir in Uri – Bhat said, “Trade came to a halt because of the heated-up borders.”

“There was no communication breakdown,” he asserted. “Yes, because of the situation along LoC, our counterparts across LoC did not turn up to receive the trade items,” he replied to a question.

The LoC – de facto border between India and Pakistan which runs between divided Jammu and Kashmir – witnessed cross border actions with Indian army claiming it killed several alleged intruders last week.

“I am on my way to Kaman bridge and let us see what happens today,” Bhat added.

The ‘peace’ bus is meant to ferry members of those families whose members crossed to either side of LoC since 1947.

With a resident permit of only 15-days, the visit to relatives is cumbersome. It takes months for agencies working across LoC to verify and cross-check the credentials of those who apply for a visit to capital cities of J&K.

It may be noted here that not only the LoC situation affects the trade activity but the weather system in J&K is also a major factor which traders and divided families think of before travelling to Srinagar and Muzaffarabad and vice-versa.

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