September 27, 2016 8:56:32 pm
As New Delhi took a hard look at the MFN (most favoured nation) status to Pakistan, cross-LoC trade, closed for the last three months, resumed in Uri, where an Army installation was attacked by terrorists on September 18.
Cross-LoC trade was suspended after protests erupted in Kashmir over the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter on July 8. The ensuing violence and curfew made it difficult for traders on both sides of the LoC to dispatch their goods.
But on Tuesday, 12 trucks carrying embroidery items, handicraft and spices left from the Salamabad trade centre in Uri to Chikoti in PoK, while one truck carrying dry fruit items arrived in Uri from PoK.
The vehicles crossed the LoC around 1 pm in the presence of senior Army and civil administration officials from both sides.
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Custodian, cross-LoC trade, Farooq Ahmad Shah told The Indian Express that the trade will continue for the next three days. “We had a meeting with officials from PoK at zero point this afternoon and the trade crossing took place at 1 pm at Kaman bridge,” Shah said.
“The other side wanted trade to resume. We initiated the process at a meeting chaired by Deputy Commissioner, Baramulla, recently. The decision to resume trade was communicated to officials from the other side of the LoC,” Shah said.
“Due to tension in Uri, many traders were sceptical (on the first day), but from tomorrow, I hope the frequency of trucks will go up,” Shah said, adding that cross-LoC trade will help defuse tension in Uri.
Hilal Turki, general secretary of the cross-LoC trade union, said, “We had taken a decision to resume trade last week, but after the Uri attack, it was deferred.”
Cross-LoC trade is among the confidence building measures initiated by India and Pakistan after the start of the Karvan-e-Aman or Peace Bus on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road. There are 800 registered traders and trade is currently conducted using the barter system.
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