EC brakes LoC trade flag-off in J

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New Delhi, Oct 20 (UNI) The Election Commission has put on hold the flag-off of trade across the Line of Control tomorrow on the ground that it will violate the model code of conduct for political parties and government that came into effect yesterday with the announcement of the Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

Union Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh was to flag-off the first truck at Salamabad in Uri to cross the LoC and receive the truck to be flagged off from Chikhoti on the other side by Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

The Minister is understood to have telephonically pleaded in vain with the Chief Election Commissioner in Hyderabad that the launch of the truck service between Jammu and Kashmir and the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) was decided in September and as such it should not come under the purview of the model code.

Efforts are, however, on to get the EC's permission to allow Governor N N Vohra to do the ceremony on the plea that he is not a politician and would be only performing his administrative duty by doing the flag-off.

Mr Ramesh is also understood have cancelled his visit to Srinagar for the flag-off to avoid getting into any controversy.

Two trade routes across LoC were to be opened on October 21, but actually only one route between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad would become operational.

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