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MUZAFFARABAD: Travel and trade through Chakothi-Uri crossing point remained suspended as a scheduled meeting between the officials of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and held Kashmir to sort out issues could not take place on Monday.

On March 9, the Custodian of Trade Facilitation Centre Salamabad in India-held Kashmir (IHK) had informed the Trade Facilitation Officer Chakothi in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) about the “inevitability of suspension of travel and trade due to some damages to Kaman bridge”.

The bridge required immediate repairs to prevent further deterioration, and the process could take a minimum of 10 to 15 days, the IHK official had said in a letter.

On March 22, the Baramullah deputy commissioner in IHK requested for a meeting to discuss the issues arising out of suspension of both activities in the wake of damage to the bridge.

A meeting to sort out issues was cancelled by IHK authorities for unknown reasons

The meeting was fixed for Monday afternoon, but it was cancelled by IHK authorities for unknown reasons, sources said.

After the Pulwama Attack on Feb 14, travel through Chakothi-Uri crossing point has been held just on one Monday on Feb 25.

Due to suspension of both activities, not only five people from AJK and three from IHK have got stuck on opposite sides, but the intra-Kashmir traders are also worried about the fate of their investments under the barter system.

According to a report from across the divide, a group of intra-Kashmir traders sacrificed two lambs in Salamabad terminal district on Monday for early resumption of trade and travel through Chakothi-Uri crossing point.

Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2019