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Govt shuts down trade with PoK from today

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Govt shuts down trade with PoK from today

The action has been taken as the government has been receiving reports of cross-LoC trade routes being misused by Pakistan-based elements for funneling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency.

The Ministry of Home Affairs on Thursday issued an official statement to suspend trade with Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir which will go into effect from Friday.

The action has been taken as the government has been receiving reports of cross-LoC trade routes being misused by Pakistan-based elements for funneling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency.

It may be recalled that the LoC trade is meant to facilitate exchange of goods of common use between local populations across the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir. The trade is allowed through two Trade Facilitation Centres located at Salamabad and Uri in Baramullah and Chakkan-da-Bagh in Poonch. The trade takes place four days a week. The trade is based on barter system and zero duty basis.

However, this facility was being misused by some influential local businessmen in nexus with unscrupulous elements to trade in products from third countries. Hence, the government has suspended the cross-LoC trade at Salamabad and Chakkan-da-Bagh in Jammu and Kashmir.

The NIA had registered a case on cross-border LoC trade in regards of terror funding in December 2016. The case, where the main complainant was the Home Ministry itself, is still under investigation, after a span of nearly two and half years. In a statement, the Ministry of Home Affairs said, "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 fueling terrorism/separatism."

The ministry also said, "So, it has been decided to suspend LoC trade at Salamabad and Chakkan-da-Bagh in Jammu and Kashmir. Meanwhile, stricter regulatory and enforcement mechanism is being worked out which will be put into place after consultation with various agencies."