The skirmishes between Indian and Pakistani troops, in which three soldiers have died in Uri and Poonch sectors, have hit trade and travel across the LoC in the Jammu division, even as the activity is still unaffected in the Kashmir Valley. Abdul Hamid, custodian of the cross-LoC trade at the Trade Facilitation Centre, Chakan-Da-Bagh, Poonch, in the Jammu division, said trade and travel had been suspended in the wake of the January 8 firing, in which two soldiers of 13 Rajputana Rifles were killed.
“I spoke to Director General of Trade in PoK Government Ismail Khan through hotline. He told me that the entire cross-LoC trade and travel would remain suspended with immediate effect until the skirmishes subsided,” Mr. Hamid told The Hindu .
While cross-LoC travel had commenced between two parts of Jammu and Kashmir, one controlled by Pakistan and the other by India, in April 2005, cross-LoC trade on a barter basis began in October 2008. In the Kashmir Valley, Pakistani and Indian authorities have set up their facilitation centres at Chakoti and Salamabad respectively, on either side of the LoC in Uri. They remain open for the cross-LoC bus on Monday and for trade from Tuesday to Friday. A relatively small facility has been in place at Teetwal in the Tangdhar area. It, however, remains suspended for six months due to heavy snow and inclement weather on the Sadhna Pass, which connects the Valley to Tanghdar. The TFC at Chakan-Da-Bagh follows the same schedule as in Uri.
Mr. Hamid said traders had withdrawn almost a hundred of their vehicles on Thursday and Friday.