The Ministry of Home Affairs has issued an order suspending the LoC trade with Pakistan occupied Kashmir through Jammu and Kashmir. The decision to discontinue the trade has been taken by the government in the light of multiple reports citing misuse of trade routes by the Pakistan based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency etc.
The MHA order says that it has received many reports of trade routes being misused on a very large scale. MHA has asserted that the character of the trade along the LoC has changed and third party trade and products and foreign countries have found their way through the route. It has also alleged that the anti-national and unscrupulous elements are exploiting the trade route as a conduit for funnelling Hawala money, drugs and weapons, under the pretext of trade.
The ongoing investigation by NIA has revealed that many terrorists and people associated with terror outfits are involved in LoC trade. It has stated in its report that many hostile elements and people associated with proscribed organisations who have crossed over to Pakistan have started trading firms in Pakistan and are operated by terror outfits operating from Pakistan.
The Government of India had stripped off the MFN status to Pakistan after a Jaish-e-Muhammad terrorist killed 40 CRPF personnel in an attack in Pulwama. According to the inputs received by the agencies, LoC trade is liable to be misused on a greater extent in order to evade the consequent higher duties.
The Ministry arrived at the decision of suspending the LoC trade at Salamabad and Chakkan-da-Bagh in J&K. The government is also working towards bringing in a stricter regulatory & enforcement mechanism in consultation with various agencies. The issue of reopening of LoC trade will be revisited thereafter.