Cross-LoC traders under surveillance for hawala

21 August 2009
The Daily Excelsior

Excelsior Correspondent JAMMU: Intelligence agencies have put few traders, dealing in cross-LoC business on Poonch-Rawlakote route, under surveillance following specific inputs that they were being used by Pakistan based militant commanders of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Hizbul Mujahideen outfits for supplying hawala money to the militants in this part of the State especially the twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri. Official sources told the Excelsior that ever increasing number of traders engaged in import-export of items through weekly Poonch-Rawlakote route has put the Intelligence sleuths on high alert as some of them had 'doubtful credentials'. 'We are monitoring the goods being imported and exported by few traders through cross-LoC route of Chakan-Da-Bagh in Poonch district as there were reports that a couple of traders might be in-league with the militant outfits', they said. As per the modus operandi, which the Intelligence agencies felt could be in use on the cross-LoC route, some of the traders from this part of the State could be sending goods to their counterparts in PoK of a very less amount as compared to their exports under the barter system. 'The amount, thus saved by the traders, might be going to the militants as a hawala money', sources said, adding that in such a situation the traders of PoK exporting items on this side could also be in-league with the militant commanders. According to sources, a similar kind of modus operandi was being used by the militant commanders to arrange hawala money for their associates in Kashmir valley through Uri-Muzaffarabad route. However, the attempt was foiled with the identification of traders. It was confirmed that a particular trader was exporting very less items to PoK as compared to the imports. The amount saved through imports was being handed over to the militants. Sources said a strict surveillance is being maintained on the identified traders and the goods being imported and exported by them every week through Poonch-Rawlakote route are being scrutinised to see shortage of amount under the barter system. It may be mentioned here that Pakistan army and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), joined by some militant commanders, had been found smuggling Pakistani SIM and memory cards through truck operators and civilians during their weekly movement through Chakan-Da-Bagh route. The SIM and memory cards were meant for the militants to help them converse directly with their commanders in Pakistan and PoK for which the Pakistan army has already got towers of Pakistan telecom companies installed close to LoC. Few weeks ago, Pakistan army had also made an attempt to smuggle iron rods, pipes and empty bottles of cold drinks in the bags of dal moong in the trucks from Rawlakote to Poonch. Similar material is used in making powerful Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). According to sources, Pakistan army and the militants had attempted a trial to smuggle explosives in the bags of dal moong but installation of sophisticated equipments at Chakan-Da-Bagh had thwarted the attempt.