SRINAGAR: The cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade between Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) via Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route has been suspended on insistence of authorities from the other side after recovery of narcotics worth Rs 300 crores from a truck last week.
Deputy Commissioner Baramulla, Nasir Ahmad Naqash told New Indian Express that cross-LoC trade will remain suspended this week.
He said authorities from PaK have informed them about suspension of the trade.
“They have cited technical reasons for suspension of trade this week,” Naqash said.
He said the trade has not been suspended over arrest of PaK truck driver Syed Mohammad Yousuf Shah following recovery of over 66 kgs of drugs worth over Rs 300 crores from his vehicle during searches at Trade Facilitation Centre, Salamabad Uri on Friday last.
However, sources said the PaK authorities are demanding release of the arrested PaK truck driver and suspended cross-LoC trade in order to build pressure on J&K government to release him.
Custodian LoC Trade G M Bhat told New Indian Express that during routine checking, police recovered 66.5 kgs of heroin and brown sugar hidden under consignment of textiles last Friday.
The drugs were hidden in false cavities of truck specifically fabricated for smuggling of drugs.
According to police, the consignment of textiles was addressed to a trader based in Pampore area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
The trader and some other persons were questioned by the police to ascertain whether they had any information about the drugs, police sources said.
They said investigations are going on.
The cross-LoC trade between Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistani takes places on four days in a week through Srinagar-Muzaffarad route in Valley and Chakan-Da-Bagh in Poonch district of Jammu.
General Secretary, Salamabad-Chakoti Traders Union, Hilal Turki told New Indian Express that the cross-LoC trade has been suspended by authorities from the other side of LoC after the arrest of Pakistani truck driver following the recovery of drugs from his vehicle.
He said the traders and authorities from this side were ready for cross-LoC trade but the other side was not ready and suspended the trade for this week.
It is not for the first instance that cross-LoC trade has been suspended.
Earlier, in February 2015, the trade was suspended for over a month after recovery of 300 packets of narcotics from a Pakistani truck and arrest of the driver, who is still undergoing detention in the State.
When asked whether the seizure of drugs from trucks involved in cross-LoC trade was bringing a bad name to the trade, Turki said, “There are black sheep on both sides. There are also several loopholes in the cross-LoC system that needs to be taken care of to ensure that no illegal activities take place through the cross-LoC trade”.
“We had demanded installation of full body scanner at the trade facilitation centre to prevent drugs smuggling via cross-LoC trade. We had taken up this issue with State government and Union home ministry but to no avail. The full body scanner has not been installed yet,” he said.
Turki said the government should form a committee comprising representatives of cross-LoC traders to work out fool proof mechanism for the trade between two parts of Kashmir. “We will give our suggestions to the committee for smooth conduct of cross-LoC trade”.
He said the government has to take the initiative and traders will support whatever measures are taken by the authorities for smooth conduct of the cross-LoC trade.