Tensions flare at ‘friendship point’ on LoC

12 April 2009
The Daily Times

Islamabad: Tensions between Pakistani and Indian troops deployed along the Line of Control (LoC) at the “friendship point” in Poonch sector have flared up following the construction of a platform on the Indian side. According to sources, the Pakistan Army objected to the construction activities on Saturday by lowering their white flag and unfurling a red flag on their side. They said the Pakistani border guards also pointed guns at construction workers to scare them away. However, defending the construction, Indian army officials said the platform was not intended to provide strategic aid, adding it would facilitate passengers crossing the LoC through the Chiken-da-Bagh crossing point. They said the Pakistan Army had already constructed a similar platform on their side. “Pakistani authorities constructed the Tourist Reception Centre (TRC) at least 50 metres beyond the zero line, which openly violates the Rules and Regulation of the LoC. We did not raise any objection,” they said. The officials admitted that the tension was a likely result of the present state of Pakistan-India relations. They said commanders on both sides were in contact and hoped for a resolution to the problem within the next few days. In 2006, both sides proposed the construction of passenger facility centres. Pakistan constructed a concrete platform, which is around 40 feet long and 30 feet wide, at the “friendship point” to provide seating for the passengers. India had only pitched tents to provide similar facilities up until this point.