Reopening of trade routes PDP’s main agenda
Srinagar, Aug 02: While the ruling PDP is pitching for opening of more cross LoC routes for trade and travel, its alliance partner BJP is insisting for the closure of routes from where trade and travel is taking place between the two divided parts of the state.
The BJP said that the party considers the importance and security of the nation first than any other economic or development initiative.
BJP state president Sat Sharma, and MLA Jammu West told KNS that BJP supports the suggestion of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for closure of cross LoC trade.
“If security agencies think that the trade is harming the national security interests, then BJP supports the agencies,” Sharma told KNS.
The BJP’s stand follows after police, on July 21, seized 66.5 kg of heroin and brown sugar worth Rs 300 crore from a truck coming from PaK through Muzaffarabad trade route to Salamabad Trade Centre in Uri.
Recently, media reported that NIA, which is probing hawala funding in Kashmir against Hurriyat may recommend closure of the trade through cross-LoC routes.
The opening of trade and travel routes is the manifesto and one of the main agendas of the PDP. And it was during the PDP-Congress coalition led by later Mufti Muhammad Sayeed in 2005 that the Uri-Muzaffarabad road thrown open after partition of Indian subcontinent.
“For BJP, nation is first then follows economy and other things,” Sharma said.
On its 18th Foundation Day, PDP president and chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said PDP would not allow the closure of cross-LoC trade and continue to work towards opening more routes across the LoC with Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
“There are many difficulties through the Wagah border, charas and ganja comes from there, but no one talks about closing it. Just because a mistake happens on the Srinagar- Muzaffarabad road, we should not talk about closing it. We will not allow that to happen,” the PDP president said.
“We are in favour of opening more routes. There should be facilities like banking there (at crossing points). There should be (full) body scanners (for trucks) so that we know what is coming in and what is going out from here,” she said, adding that her late father, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed would often say that Kashmir is “besieged” and should be set free by the opening of roads like Kargil-Skardu, Jammu-Sialkot, and Leh-Xinjiang.
But traders are against the BJP and NIA’s closure demand.
Salamabad Trade Union General Secretary Hilal Turkey said that closure of the route is not the solution.
“Closure is not a solution. In fact, we as traders have been suggesting adopting foolproof mechanism to address the loopholes which are exploited and misused by miscreants. And that is the solution, Turkey told KNS.
He said that hundreds of people are dependent on the trade, be it traders themselves, transporters, labourers and other locals.
He said that the chief minister’s suggestion of opening of more routes is a positive and developmental sign for the LoC trade.
However, during his recent Kashmir visit, outgoing Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi told the CM that the central government has no plans to stop the cross-LoC trade between Jammu and Kashmir and the PaK. (KNS)