Pakistan to resume cross-border trade in Kashmir

Islamabad, Feb 13: Pakistan said Thursday it has decided to resume cross-border trade in Kashmir after weeks of suspension over the arrest of a Pakistani driver by the Indian authorities on drugs smuggling charges.

Pakistan, in a tit-for-tat response, also detained manyIndian trucks on its side of Kashmir last month that led to suspension of trade across the Line of Control (LoC).

“Pakistan has decided to resume trade through LoC in the best interest of Kashmiris,” Xinhua quoted Pakistan foreign ministry spokesperson Tasnim Aslam as saying.

She told a weekly press briefing in Islamabad that Pakistan did not want to create any impediment in cross-LoC activities and hoped for the same gesture from the other side.

The spokesperson said that the proposed meeting of working group on cross-LoC trade is likely to take place in New Delhi later this month.

Both countries have already resumed passenger bus services that were stopped after the controversy erupted.

India had alleged Pakistan stopped the movement of trucks and buses between divided Kashmir following the arrest of a truck driver from Pakistan-controlled Kashmir Jan 17 at Salamabad trade facilitation centre in Uri town.

Indian police said the driver was carrying narcotics worth $18.5 million hidden in his truck.

Pakistan rejected the smuggling charges against the driver.

Cross-LoC trade between the divided parts of Kashmir was started in 2008 and is carried out in barter system.

IANS