INDIA Suspends LOC Trade Saying It Is Being Misused

GOVERNMENT of India has suspended cross LoC trade with Pakistan from Friday, April 24, saying the routes were being used for sending weapons, narcotics and counterfeit currency from Pakistan to India.”Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued orders to suspend the LoC trade in Jammu-Kashmir with effect from 19-04-2019, an official statement issued in Delhi said. The Government of India has been receiving reports that the cross LoC trade routes are being misused by the Pakistan based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics, and fake currency, etc,” said the statement said.  LoC trade is meant to facilitate exchange of goods of common use between local populations across the LoC in Jammu & Kashmir. The trade is allowed through two Trade Facilitation Centres located at Salemabad, Uri, District Baramulla and Chakkan-da-Bagh, District Poonch. The trade takes place four days a week. The Trade is based on Barter system and zero duty basis. However, inputs have been received that the LoC trade is being misused on very large scale. It has been revealed that the trade has changed its character to mostly third party trade and products from other regions, including foreign countries, are finding their way through this route. Unscrupulous and anti-national elements are using the route as a conduit for Hawala money, drugs and weapons taking advantage of LOC trade which is meant for the benefit of the people .During the ongoing investigations of certain cases by NIA, it has been revealed that a significant number of trading concerns engaged in LoC trade are being operated by persons closely associated with banned terrorist organizations involved in fuelling terrorism/separatism.  Some individuals, who have crossed over to Pakistan, and joined militant organizations, have opened trading firms in Pakistan. These trading firms are under the control of militant organizations and are engaged in LoC trade.  Government of India has withdrawn the MFN status to Pakistan in the wake of the Pulwama. Mechanism is being worked out to ensure more effective functioning of the LOC trade before it is resumed. Punjab Chief Minister Amarendra Singh has gone on record saying that illicit narcotics are coming to the state from across the border (image courtesy to youtube)

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