Pakistan criticises India’s decision to suspend cross-LoC trade

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Sunday slammed the unilateral Indian decision to suspend cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade while rebuffing the allegations of its misuse.

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Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said in the statement, “the Indian action is based on groundless accusations that this mechanism is being used for smuggling, narcotics, fake currency and ‘terrorism’.”

The litany was in line with India’s frequent attempts to portray legitimate activities of people in Indian Occupied Kashmir as linked to ‘terrorism’, the statement added.

Dr Faisal said, “the unilateral suspension of this Kashmir-related Confidence-Building Measures (CBMs)  indicates that India is seeking to reverse even the modest gains made by the two countries in the diplomatic domain. Its suspension without consulting Pakistan is deeply regrettable,” adding that the cross-LoC trade between Pakistan and India has been one such functional CBM which requires persistent, ambassadorial attempts.

Dr Faisal called attention to the consequences of trade suspension between the two countries which will create economic hardships for the people of Kashmir. He said, “We urge India to refrain from taking unilateral measures and resolve differences through constructive engagement with a view to transitioning from conflict to cooperation.”

Dr Faisal said people of Kashmir to be victims of the unresolved dispute and Pakistan will continue to facilitate and enhance the economic interaction between Kashmiri people, adding, “we urge India to refrain from taking unilateral measures and resolve differences through constructive engagement with a view to transitioning from conflict to cooperation.”

On Thursday, claiming that the cross-LoC trade was being used to smuggle drugs and weapons, India suspended the trade with Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

Indian home ministry claimed to receive information of “militant” groups were using the cross-border route to send drugs, weapons and fake currency. The ministry said, “unscrupulous and anti-national elements are using the route as a conduit for money, drugs and weapons, under the garb of this trade.”

The ministry further said that the inquiries of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) have found out that a significant number of firms engaged in the cross-border trade were being operated by individuals with ties to militant groups. However, the ministry did not name anyone.

Operating on a barter system, traders from India export cumin, chili pepper, cloth, cardamom, bananas, pomegranate, grapes, and almonds without any exchange of money while Prayer mats, carpets, cloth, oranges, mangos and herbs are sent from the Pakistani side.

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