Skirmishes halt cross-LoC trade, travel
Rajouri, June 19: Continuing Indo-Pak skirmishes along the Line of Control have led to the suspension of travel and trade taking place between the divided Jammu and Kashmir across the border.
While the operation of the bus service from Chakan-da-Bagh was stopped yesterday, the cross-LoC trade remained suspended for the second consecutive week – with fresh incidents of border firing reported Tuesday. Official sources said that nearly 24 trucks were stationed at the Trade Facilitation Center at Chakan-da-Bagh but the border gates remained closed throughout the day today.
Sharing the concern of the traders, an official at the center said that there was no immediate peace in sight and it will surely lead to loss to the traders.
Pertinently, cross-LoC bus service also remained suspended yesterday after Indian and Pakistan army refused to open the gates owing to the high tension prevailing along the LoC.
Army here has been demanding a flag meeting with their Pakistani counterparts to de-escalate the border tension, which erupted about a week back after two soldiers were killed and four others wounded due to “unprovoked firing” from the other side.
News reports from the other side of the border also confirmed that both trade and travel has been suspended for “indefinite period”.
“Travel and trade between Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Indian Kashmir through the Rawalakote-Poonch route has been suspended for an indefinite period”, a news report from the other side of the border reads.
It claimed that the decision was taken following unprovoked firing four days back by “Indian troops across the Line of Control (LoC) on Battal sector, Hajeera sub-division, Rawalakote district, in which two civilians including a woman were seriously injured”.
“AJK Trade and Travel Authority Director General Brigadier (Retd) Muhammad Ismail confirmed that the weekly cross-LoC travel on Mondays and four-day trade on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays through the Rawlakot –Poonch route is suspended”, the news report added.
Meanwhile, Pakistani troops resumed firing at Indian posts situated at the Line of Control (LoC) in the Krishna Ghati sector today.
At least two Indian soldiers have been killed and three others have been injured in the heavy exchange of fire that continued for the seventh day today. But despite repeated requests from the Indian side, Pakistan has so far refused to hold flag meetings. Reports reaching here revealed that the continuous skirmishes along the border have created panic among the residents close to the LoC. “There was panic among the people especially in Sabzian and Balakote sectors”, sources said.
ARMY SEEKS FLAG MEETING
The Army has sought a 'Brigade Commander' level flag meeting with its Pakistan counterpart along the LoC in the wake of heightened tension.
"We have sent a hotline message to Pakistan Army and called for a Brigade commander-level flag meeting to discuss the issues of increasing incidents of firing and ceasefire violations in Poonch sector", a senior Army officer told PTI.
The message has been sent to Pakistani authorities Monday and they were asked to convey the timings of the meeting within two days, he said.
Usually, a commandant-level flag meeting is held on the LoC to sort out the differences, but this time we have called for Brigade Commander level meeting, he said.
Earlier, Pakistan had cancelled Commandant (Col) level meeting on Chakan-Da-Bagh crossing point in Poonch on June 16 without assigning any reason.
Pakistani troops this time directly fired on Army troops guarding the borderline in Poonch unlike in the past when they used to target posts, the official said adding it was a serious issue.
(WITH INPUTS FROM PTI)
Lastupdate on : Tue, 19 Jun 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 19 Jun 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 20 Jun 2012 00:00:00 IST
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