Cross LoC trade suspended amidst Pak firing; Pathankot under high alert

15 March 2017

The movement of goods between the Jammu and Kashmir and parts of Occupied Kashmir came to halt on Tuesday following mortar shelling and firing by Pakistan on LoC posts in Poonch district of the state, particularly Chakan-Da-Bagh based Trade facilitation Centre.

Meanwhile, in a separate incident, a policeman was injured and a terrorist was killed today in a gunfight between holed up militants and the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir's Kupwara district.

In Pathankot in Punjab on Tuesday, local authorities sounded high alert after inputs of suspicious movement following which police launched a massive search operation.

While guns fell silent today after the two-day long intermittent ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops, travel and trade between the two sides of Kashmir remain suspended.

"The LoC trade between India and Pakistan has come to halt following ceasefire violation. There was no LoC trade today," a senior police officer said.

India on Tuesday suspended cross-border trade to and from Poonch and Rawalkot following incessant shelling by Pakistani forces from across the Line of Control since Sunday.

A Trade Facilitation Centre at Chakan da Bagh along the LoC was damaged on Monday in heavy shelling by the Pakistan Army, reports said on Tuesday.

Bus services were suspended and schools near the LoC had been closed as a 'precautionary measure'.

"There was unprovoked firing by the Pakistani Army in the Poonch sector from 6.40 a.m. on Monday with 82 mm mortars and automatic weapons," sources said.

The Pakistani troops resumed the heavy mortar shelling and automatic weapon firing in the wee hours today after a lull of the ceasefire violation that began yesterday, targeting the Indian posts and civilian areas near the Line of Control, said a defence spokesperson.

"There was unprovoked firing by Pakistan Army in Poonch sector from 0640 hours today with 82 mm mortars and automatic weapons," said the defence spokesman adding the Pakistani onslaught was 'befittingly' responded to.

"The Army took position and responded befittingly and an intermittent firing is on presently," he said adding there has been no casualty on our side.

Meanwhile, high alert was sounded in Pathankot in Punjab on Tuesday after inputs of suspicious movement following which police launched a massive search operation.

According to local police, following the input, a search operation was launched around a 4-5 km area near the Army cantonment along the Pathankot-Dalhousie road. A helicopter patrol was also launched for aerial survey.

Police also carried out searches near Chakki river. Himachal Pradesh police was also alerted about the suspicious movement and searches were conducted on their side as well, sources said.

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