Trade across the Line of Control (LoC) between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad which resumed on Wednesday after 40 days hit another roadblock when 22 trucks from India came back without unloading their goods, officials said.Traders from India said they were forced to recall their trucks without unloading goods at Chakote near Muzaffarabad, over uncalled for security checks by Pakistani authorities which resulted in damage to their goods. There was unprecedented security checks of our trucks at the Chakote trade facilitation centre near Muzaffarabad which resulted in damage to our goods there today, Hilal Ahmad Turki, secretary of the cross-LoC traders association in Baramulla district, told IANS. After the matter could not be amicably resolved with the trade facilitation officer at Chakote, our truckers were forced to return to Salamabad without unloading their goods, he said.
All 22 trucks that had crossed the LoC with goods from our side returned without unloading. However, four trucks that had come to the Salamabad centre near Uri town in Baramulla from Chakote near Muzaffarabad (in Pakistan-administered Kashmir) unloaded their goods successfully here, he said. Trade across the Line of Control (LoC) between the two parts of divided Kashmir was halted by Pakistan Jan 17 when customs and police officials in Baramulla recovered 114 packets of brown sugar valued at over Rs.100 crore from a Pakistani truck, in which the narcotics were hidden. The truck driver was arrested and his vehicle seized. The same day, Pakistan detained 27 Indian drivers and their trucks which had gone across the LoC with trade goods. Pakistan also disallowed the return of their 48 trucks that had come to India Jan 17.
Pakistani officials demanded the return of the arrested driver and his vehicle as a pre-condition for the resumption of the cross-LoC trade. The deadlock was resolved at the high commission level and after more than a month, trade resumed Wednesday. Cross-LoC trade between Poonch and Rawlakote in Pakistan-administered Kashmir resumed earlier this month following talks between diplomats of the two countries. As per the existing arrangement, cross-LoC trade takes place four days a week between the two parts of Kashmir through the Kaman Post on the LoC and the Chakan Da Bagh crossing point. Meanwhile, the arrested Pakistani driver has been lodged in the Srinagar Central Jail following court orders.