LoC Trade, Bus Service To Resume Today

15 February 2015
Rising Kashmir
Junaid Kathju

Srinagar: The stalled cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad would resume from Monday after family members of the arrested driver from Pakistan-administered Kashmir and his fellow truckers agreed to end the blockade of the highway. Meanwhile, an official said Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service would also resume from Monday. 'We have got the confirmation from the other side. The bus service will resume from Monday,' he said. The LoC trade had resumed on Friday after six days before being suspended on Saturday again after PaK officials failed to convince family members of the detained truck driver, truck drivers association and civil society members to lift the blockade on the highway connecting Muzaffarabad with Uri. The family members of detained truck driver Anayat Hussain, truckers association and civil society members were demanding the release of the driver who was arrested last week by J&K police for allegedly carrying narcotics in his vehicle. Chairman Jaffria Supreme Council PaK, Syed Shabir Hussain Bukhari and Sarparsti Aalai Jaffria, Supreme Council PaK, Syed Kifayat Hussain Naqvi told Rising Kashmir that they have agreed to let the trade resume under certain conditions. 'We have agreed to let the trade resume for the larger interest of traders from both sides. However, we have demanded all legal assistance during the trial of the arrested driver,' said Hussain They have also demanded that the family members of the arrested driver should be allowed to make frequent phone calls to the accused. The council has also demanded that the family members of arrested trucker should be allowed to meet him in the jail. General Secretary, Salamabad-Uri Trade Union, Hilal Turki said they were able to convince the civil society and truck drivers association to resume trade during their meeting with them on Sunday. 'They have agreed to resume the trade but have set certain conditions for it. We have updated Financial Commissioner, Industries and Commerce about the situation,' said Turki 'Financial Commissioner has assured them that appropriate decision would be taken after a deliberation with higher authorities,' he added. Turki said they also demanded for expedition in the process of installation of full-body truck scanners at Trade Facilitation Centre, Uri. Financial Commissioner, Industries and Commerce, Khursheed Ganai said the demands of the family members of arrested driver would be forwarded to the home department for consideration. 'I had a meeting with Director Industries, TFO Salamabad and traders association where they told me about the demands of the family members of arrested driver and PaK civil society. I will forward the same to home ministry for consideration,' said Ganai. Talking about the installation of full-body truck scanner, Ganai said officials from Home Ministry along with a team of experts would visit TFC, Uri soon for installation of the scanner. 'The team has already visited Chakan Da Bagh for survey. They will be visiting TFC, Uri soon to identify the ideal location to install the scanner,' he said. Meanwhile, welcoming the move, Secretary Information Jammu and Kashmir Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JKCCI), Ajaz Ahmad Meer said traders have decided to pay the monthly expenses to the family members of the arrested drivers. 'The traders have decided to pay from Rs 30,000 to 40,000 to the family members of arrested drivers until they will be acquitted,' said Meer. This is not the first time that LoC trade has been suspended after police claimed of seizing narcotics from a truck coming from PaK. In January last year, police seized 114 packets of brown sugar worth Rs 100 crore from a PaK truck at Salamabad checkpost. Meer said there should be a joint mechanism adopted by both the governments to tackle such situation in future.