Solid reasons to suspend the Cross-LoC trade

J K News  Today Commentary

The suspension of cross-LoC trade  on two sides of the Jammu and Kashmir  is not without a reason. It  has been misused to the extent that it became less of a trade and more of a source of terror funding from Pakistan occupied Kashmir, that goes further down to Pakistan.

It was after lot many inputs that the terror was being funded in Jammu and Kashmir , among other sources, through the fake currency  in goods in trucks coming from across the LoC , supply of drugs and weapons that the Ministry of Home  Affairs suspended the trade that was started in October 2008 as a goodwill gesture.

Post Pulwama terror attack of the February 14 in which 40 CRPF personnel died , the Government of India had withdrawn the Most Favoured Nation status to Pakistan , the threat of the terror funding became graver that could not be ignored by the Centre. An alarming situation had started surfacing that would have created more problems in dealing with terrorists and terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir .

The Government of India’s hands were forced by the terror-related elements engaged in the  cross-LoC trade via Salamabad-Muzaffarabad, and Chakan-Da-Bagh and Rawalokte routes upping their activities . They had started sending more and more f drugs and had started under in-voicing the trade items  and that could have defeated the very  purpose of opening of the cross-LoC trade routes in October 2008 with a clear understanding that it would be  a step forward in bringing the two sides of Jammu and Kashmir to develop better  understanding of each other .

The MHA underlined its concerns   after it discovered  that after the withdrawal of the MFN status that the traders in Pakistan in order to “ evade the consequent higher duty, LoC trade is likely to be misused to a much larger extent.”  This was sufficient to ring the alarm bells  as  Jammu and Kashmir is  already  fighting terrorism at various levels . It could not have allowed more sources of terror funding to grow and harm peace and order in the state.

 The fake currency was being used to enroll terrorists and expand the tentacles of terrorism across the state. This fact was established time and again when the investigating agencies seized the fake currency .

Equally disturbing was the discovery of the explosives coming from across as also the narcotics . This was an alarming situation , and from time to time the attention was being drawn to the misuse of the trade and use of this trade for the smuggling of arms and ammunition  that was all meant to widen the network of terrorism . The barter system  was posing problem of under invoicing .

Finally, the trade was ordered to be suspended by the Ministry of Home Affairs from April 19, 2019 –more than a decade after the trade was made operational n 2008 . Enough was enough . This could not be tolerated .

The MHA had solid reasons to do so , and in fact, it should have been shut long ago because the terrorism could not be allowed to  flourish in the name of trade. The people to people contact does not mean encouraging the terrorism. Pakistan was wholly responsible for it , and  no internal step against terrorism could succeed  if the replenishment was coming through the trade route.

It was infiltration of terrorism of a different kind, that was breaching the LoC through the route that was expected to become an example of the reconciliation process and a model for the wider economic interest in the region . But Pakistan demolished its original spirit .

Questions have been raised about the  GoI suspensing the cross LoC trade, but nothing is being asked of Pakistan that sabotaged the trade in the first place.

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