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Kashmir trade to be resumed

Muzaffarabad: Line of Control (LoC) decided to resume intra-Kashmir trade from Chakothi-Uri crossing point from Thursday as police used batons here on Tuesday to disperse a demonstration against the detention of a driver in India-held Kashmir over drug trafficking charges.

Six protestors were arrested for “rioting and creating law and order problem” but were later released on bail.

Raising slogans for “immediate release and repatriation” of the driver, they blocked flow of vehicular traffic and caused inconvenience to commuters, he said.

The police, he said, were compelled to resort to mild baton charge to disperse the protestors and arrest six inciters, including the detained driver’s brother. But they were released in the evening after a magistrate accepted their bail applications.

The trade facilitation officer (TFO) for Chakothi-Uri crossing point held a meeting with his counterpart from India-held Kashmir on the resumption of trade. It has been stalled since Jan 17 because of the drug trafficking row and recently resumed only through Tetrinote-Chakan da Bagh crossing point in Poonch division. The barter trade is conducted four days a week — from Tuesday to Friday.

But while only one truck ferried goods from Azad Jammu and Kashmir to the other side through the Poonch crossing point, the officials decided to resume trade from the Chakothi-Uri crossing point from Thursday, TFO Basharat Iqbal said.

However, traders were in no mood to resume trade in an atmosphere of distrust, their representative Ajaz Meer said. Mr Iqbal admitted that most traders were reluctant to transport their consignments across the LOC.

Faced with capacity constraints, at present both sides are manually scanning consignments. Though the standard operating procedure allows each side to send 50 trucks across the border, complete scanning of entire shipment, according to TFO Iqbal, means clearance of hardly four to five trucks from each side in a day.




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