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Despite Indo-Pak flag meet, cross-LoC bus service and trade remain suspended

The trade and travel had come to a grinding halt on July 10 and July 11, due to unprovoked firing by Pak army troops in the twin border districts Rajouri and Poonch. 

cities Updated: Aug 29, 2017 00:05 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jammu
Poonch,Line of Control,India
Indian and Pakistan Army officials during a Battalion Commander Level Flag meeting at Line of Control in Chakan–Da–Bagh in Poonch Sector on August 24, 2017. (PTI)

The border trade and travel via Chakan-da-Bagh in Poonch remain suspended on Monday as well, despite a battalion commander level flag meeting on August 23, between Indian and Pakistani armies to restore sanity on the Line of Control (LoC) in Rajouri and Poonch districts.

On Sunday Pakistan opened heavy fire in Shahpur Kerni area of Poonch, injuring five civilians including a woman and two minor boys.

“The trans-LoC bus service didn’t take place on Monday. Even the lists (of passengers) were not exchanged this morning. There was heavy firing in the area on Sunday,” said Tanvir Ahmed Choudhary, custodian of the Chakan-da-Bagh Trade Facilitation Centre.

Cross –LoC bus service takes place on Mondays.

The official expressed apprehensions that going by the tense situation on the LoC, the trans-border trade may also not take place from Tuesday to Friday.

Pawan Anand, president of the Chakan-da-Bagh LoC Traders’ Association, said chances of trade from Tuesday looked bleak.

“No lists were exchanged on Monday and the district administration has maintained silence. The traders are worried,” Pawan added.

A total of 303 Indian traders do business with their counterpart via Chakan-da-Bagh.

The trade and travel had come to a grinding halt on July 10 and July 11, due to unprovoked firing by Pak army troops in the twin border districts.

To de-escalate tension prevailing along the LoC in Rajouri and Poonch districts, Indian and Pakistani armies had held a commander level meeting at Chakkan Da Bagh on Wednesday and agreed to maintain peace and tranquillity along the borders.

At the battalion commander level meeting both the sides had mutually agreed to the importance of exercising restraint on the LoC and keeping the channels of communication open between local commanders.

Minister of state for home affairs Hansraj Gangaram Ahir had visited Chamliyal border outpost in Ramgarh area of Samba sector on August 24, to take stock of the prevailing security scenario on the border.

Significantly, on July 17, the BSF and the Pakistan Rangers had held a commandant-level flag meeting in Samba sector along the International Border and "committed" themselves to maintaining peace.

In the flag meeting, the two sides had agreed to re- energise instant communication between field commanders, whenever required, to resolve petty matters, a BSF official had said.

First Published: Aug 29, 2017 00:02 IST