In a bid to deepen ties on both side of the borders, cross LoC bus trade service between India and Pakistan through Poonch-Rawalkote route is likely to resume this week.
The development took-off after India decided to approve medical visas for Pakistani nationals in “deserving” cases and also the release of prisoners and fisherman by both countries last week.
Amidst the terror funding in Jammu and Kashmir cracked by the Indian Investigating agencies in the recent past, cross LoC trade can be seen as the significant confidence building between the two nations. Trade route on Uri-Muzaffarabad LoC route was suspended for a while earlier this year following the seizure of banned drugs.
The BJP local leaders have voiced against the cross-LoC trade between India and Pakistan from time-to-time. In a time when it was alleged that the facility was being used to fund terrorism, CM Mehbooba Mufti has remained committed to the trade with Pakistan.
The bus service on Poonch-Rawalkote track was put on hold after cross-border firing on the LoC by Pakistani troops. “Since both sides decided to resume travel and trade at a meeting near the LoC on Friday, we are hopeful of resumption of the weekly cross-LoC bus service as per schedule on Monday,” custodian of LoC trade (Poonch) Mohammad Tanveer was quoted as having told local news agencies.
Senior officials of both the nations discussed on Friday and agreed to the terms to resume the suspended bus service and trade between the two sides. The bus service was started along the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road in April 2005 and the Poonch-Rawalkote route on June 20, 2006, to facilitate easier trade and travel between the divided families of J&K and PoK.
“If everything goes well and the bus service resumes on Monday, the suspended trade is also expected to resume on Tuesday,” an official said, adding it all depended on the situation along the LoC. Tanveer had earlier said that suspension of cross-LoC trade between J&K and PoK for the last 16 weeks had resulted in a loss of over Rs 80 crore.
Trade across the LoC was suspended on July 11 after heavy firing and shelling from the Pakistani side caused damage to trade facilitation centres and police barracks.