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Aseem Bassi, Hindustan Times
Amritsar, October 10, 2012
Even as Indian customs authorities struggle to crack the mystery of the recovery of 105 kg heroin and 500 live cartridges from a Pakistani goods train on Monday, their Pakistani counterparts stress that the possibility of the drugs and arms having been loaded in Indian territory, between Attari and Amritsar, could not be ruled out.


Lahore customs collector Fazal Yazdani Khan, who was in Amritsar on Wednesday, said, "Since I was in India for the past few days, I have got the details from customs authorities here. I have been told that the metal seal of the wagon was intact in Attari but was found broken in Amritsar. Since the matter is under investigation, I do not rule out that the heroin could have been loaded between Amritsar and Attari."

The goods train had quaintly taken more than four hours to reach Amritsar from Attari station -- the distance is merely 28 km. Indeed as per the Indian customs authorities, it is between Attari and Amritsar that the seals of the wagon were broken. But there has been no suggestion so far that the very loading of the drugs and arms took place in India. 

"I am not suggesting this but I am not ruling this out," Khan said, adding, however, that such seizures were not good for trade between both the nations, and Pakistan was making serious efforts to curb the menace of smuggling. "We have now started using metal seals on the wagons, and will ensure that goods are loaded under the observation of officials."

Amritsar customs commissioner KK Sharma, when asked about the comment of the Pakistani official, said, "You know everything." On a question regarding absence of scanners, Sharma said, "Too much importance is being given to scanners." Asked if there had been any breakthrough, he said it was premature to comment.

Meanwhile, a delegation of Indian traders met the Pakistani officer and urged him for efforts to curb smuggling. Since the seizure was of a very high magnitude, various security agencies are also learnt to have taken down details.