Senior CPI (M) leader and former MLA Kulgam, Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami Friday said that Government of India’s order to suspend cross-LoC trade between parts of divided Kashmir via Salamabad (Uri) and Chakan-da-Bagh (Poonch) routes was a huge setback to peace process.
“We were demanding measures for strengthening and streamlining the existing trade and travel arrangements across the LoC and modalities for introducing additional Cross-LoC CBMs. The decision of the Central Government to suspend the cross-LoC trade is determinantal to peace process,” he said.
In a statement issued to KNS, Tarigami said “instead of providing the cross-LoC traders with banking and telephone facilities, the GoI has virtually taken a reverse gear. Flourishing cross-LoC trade would have helped in peace process as it was one of the biggest confidence-building-measures (CBMs) between the two countries.”
“If the cross-LoC trade routes were being misused for illegal inflow of weapons, narcotics and fake currency, as claimed by Government of India, a proper mechanism could have been evolved to stop it. Suspending the trade is not the answer to these issues,” he added.
CPI (M) leader said “We demand that instead of closing the trade, the two countries should expand the trade list to cover all items manufactured or produced in the two parts of Kashmir and double the number of trading days, allow trucks carrying cross-LoC trade goods to their final destinations, and open additional routes of Chumb-Pallanwala on the Bhimer-Jammu side and Khoiratta-Noshehra on the Kotli-Rajauri side as these are the shortest and most viable routes for cross-LoC trade.” (KNS)