Pakistan flays India’s decision to suspend cross-LoC trade
Islamabad, Apr 21: Pakistan on Sunday deplored India’s “unilateral” decision to suspend cross-LoC trade and rejected the allegations regarding its “misuse” by elements from across the border “to smuggle weapons, narcotics, fake currency and foment terrorism”.
Hardening its stand against Pakistan, India on Thursday indefinitely suspended cross-border trade at two points along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir after reports of very large scale “misuse” of the cross-LoC trade.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office said the Indian action was based on “groundless accusations” that this mechanism is being used for smuggling, narcotics, fake currency and terrorism.
“This litany is all too familiar and in line with India’s frequent attempts to portray legitimate activities of the people in Jammu & Kashmir as linked to terrorism,” the FO said.
The FO said the cross-LoC trade has been one of the functional Confidence-Building Measures (CBMs) between the two countries, which came about after arduous diplomatic efforts.
“The unilateral suspension of this Kashmir-related CBM indicates that India is seeking to reverse even the modest gains made by the two countries in the diplomatic domain. Its suspension without consulting Pakistan is deeply regrettable,” it said.
The FO said the suspension of the cross-LoC trade adds to the economic hardship and further squeezes the segment of people who could modestly benefit from this facility.
“In our view, there are better ways of dealing with issues relating to implementation, if any, than resorting to unilateral suspension of important CBMs,” the FO said.
“We urge India to refrain from taking unilateral measures and resolve differences through constructive engagement with a view to transitioning from conflict to cooperation,” it added.
Until its suspension, the LoC trade was conducted through two trade facilitation centres located at Salamabad in Uri of Baramulla district, and Chakkan-da-Bagh in Poonch district.