India suspends trade across Line of Control with PoK over terror concerns
India on Thursday suspended trade across the Line of Control with Pakistan occupied Kashmir over terror concerns. The order will come into effect from 19 April, Friday. According to the Home Ministry, the action has been taken as the Narendra Modi government has been receiving reports of cross LoC trade routes being misused by Pakistan based elements for funneling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency etc. “During ongoing probe of certain cases by NIA, it has been brought out that significant number of trading concerns engaged in LoC trade are operated by persons closely associated with banned terror organisations involved in fuelling terrorism/separatism,” the notice said. After the Pulwama terror attack in February in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed, the government has withdrawn the Most Favoured Nation or MFN status to Pakistan.
Curiously, the cross-LoC trade between J&K and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) along the Poonch-Rawalakot route had resumed on Tuesday after nearly two weeks, with 70 goods trucks crossing the Line of Control, officials said. The move came as a relief to traders, who had been incurring losses due to the suspension. Trade and travel between the two sides were suspended following heavy Pakistani shelling along the LoC on April 1 which led to the death of three people -- BSF officer, a woman and a five-year-old girl -- in Poonch. Twenty-four others, including five security personnel, were injured. The cross-LoC bus service, popularly known as Paigam-e-Aman (message of peace), resumed operations Monday.
On Tuesday, As many a 35 trucks carrying various items, including walnuts, dry dates, almonds, embroidery items, herbs, potatoes and pista, crossed the LoC and entered Jammu and Kashmir, they said. Similarly, 35 trucks carrying jeera, fruits, herbs and various other items crossed over to PoK, the officials said.
In post-Pulwama scenario, things turned bitter between the two nuclear-armed nations. Almost a fortnight after the Pulwama attack, the Indian Air Force carried out pre-dawn airstrikes on February 26 and destroyed major launch pads of the terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed, which was behind the February 14 Pulwama terror attack. The initial reports suggested that the ‘Surgical Strike 2.0’ decimated Jaish-e-Mohammed’s Alpha 3 Control Rooms located in Balakot, Muzaffarabad and Chakothi in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. More than 10 bombs were dropped by the multi-role fighter jet Mirage 2000 at around 3:30 am on February 26 morning. Understandably, Pakistan has downplayed the airstrike. The aerial attack came day after Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman held a high-level meeting with all three service chiefs.