10 J&K militants based in Pak involved in LoC trade: officials

At least 10 militants, who had crossed over to Pakistan, are involved in cross-LoC trade, officials sources said Wednesday.

These Jammu and Kashmir natives are either based in Islamabad and Rawalpindi in Pakistan or Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-administered Kashmir (PaK), they said.

“They operate businesses ranging from almonds, dry dates, dry fruits to mangoes as part of the modus operandi to send money to fuel unrest in Jammu and Kashmir on behalf of the Pakistani intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)”, the officials said.

“The 10 Pakistan-based militants were involved in funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency into the Valley misusing the recently suspended cross LoC trade routes,” a senior security official said.

Enquiries conducted and record checks have established that these individuals have opened trading firms in Pakistan and were active in LoC trade, the official said.

MHA last week indefinitely suspended cross-LoC trade at two points along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir following reports that it was being “misused” by elements from across the border to “smuggle weapons, narcotics and fake currency”.

The LoC trade across Chakan-Da-Bagh and Salamabad was intended as a confidence building measure for the population living in Jammu and Kashmir and across the Line of Control (LoC) in PaK.

Security officials said trading firms under the control of the 10 militants were doing LoC trade with Indian trading firms which were mostly operated by their own relatives on the Indian side, another official said.

“The channel of LoC trade, meant to facilitate exchange of goods of common use between local populations across the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir, was being exploited to fund “illegal and anti-national activities” in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Money was being transferred to militant organisations and anti-India elements by these traders,” the official said.  

The government will revisit the issue of resuming the LoC trade after stricter measures and systems are put in place to address these issues.