Nearly 400 people had a narrow escape on Wednesday as Pakistani troops targeted the Trade Facilitation Centre at Chakkan Da Bagh along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district. Several government civil servants, police and immigration officials, labourers and cross LoC traders were present inside the facility at the time of the attack.
Shelling from the Pakistan side of the border began at around 10.45 am when a mortar shell fell near a bridge outside the trade Centre. This was followed by two more shells falling within the premises of the trade centre.
People from both sides of the LoC were involved in trade when the mortar shelling began, a senior police official said. “A few minutes before the shelling, a total of 34 trucks from Indian side had gone to Pakistan occupied Kashmir. In return, the Indian side had received 31 trucks from PoK,” the officer said.
As the shelling was underway, the Indian trucks were stranded on the PoK side. Similarly, the trucks that came from PoK were held up on the Indian side, the police officer said.
However, there was no loss of life or damage to property as the custodian of cross LoC trade, Fareed Kohli, and Deputy Superintendent Azim Qureshi had asked people to vacate the trade centre soon after the shelling began.
Meanwhile, Pakistani troops were resorting to mortar shelling on civilian areas along the LoC in nearby Khari Karmara area of Poonch as well. The Indian army was retaliating.