Cross-LoC trade suspended after protests, strike by Pak truckers

Baramulla: Cross-Line of Control trade was suspended on Thursday due to a strike called by truckers on the other side of the LoC to demand release of their colleague who has been arrested here on charges of smuggling narcotics into the Valley.
“The Trade Facilitation Officer (TFO) Chakoti informed me over phone that the trade can’t be resumed because the transporters there have gone on strike. The drivers there have held protests demanding release of their colleague,” Showkat Ahmad, Liaison Officer, Salamabad Trade Facilitation Centre (TFC), told Kashmir Reader Thursday.
He said the transporters from this side of Kashmir were all set to roll the vehicles to other side of the LoC. “Over a dozen trucks laden with goods were ready at the Salamabad TFC. It is unfortunate that Pak transporters have gone on strike due to which traders are suffering huge losses,” he added.
Chairman, Salamabad-Chakoti Trade Union (SCTU), Mohammad Asif Lone urged the respective authorities to take immediate steps to resolve the crisis caused by the arrest of the driver. He said the traders and the transporters from both sides were suffering because of the uncertainty.
Last month, on January 17, the cross-LoC trade hit a major roadblock after police detained a trucker from Pakistan-administered Kashmir Mohammad Shafiq Awan, of Muzaffarabad, for allegedly carrying brown sugar worth Rs 100 crore into the Valley.  A day later, Pak officials detained 27 Kashmiri drivers at Chakoti across the LoC demanding release of their detained driver. The standoff not only left the 27 Kashmiri drivers stranded at Chakoti and 48 Pak drivers at Salamabad but also led to the temporary suspension of cross-LoC bus service.
However, the deadlock ended on Thursday last, after Indo-Pak officials reached an agreement to allow the stranded drivers to return to their respective destinations.
Meanwhile, the LoC trade re-opened in the Jammu region with nine vehicles crossing over.
At Chakan-Da-Bagh-Rawakote in the Jammu area, nine trucks each from PaK and Jammu crossed over.—With PTI in Jammu