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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

India-Pakistan face off after drug haul

Toufiq Rashid, Hindustan Times  Srinagar, January 20, 2014
First Published: 19:00 IST(20/1/2014) | Last Updated: 08:43 IST(21/1/2014)

The Jammu and Kashmir government wants the Union ministry of external affairs to intervene in the India-Pakistan stand-off on Line of Control that has left 27 Kashmiri trucks stuck on the other side.

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Trade through this border route and the India-Pakistan bus service have been halted.

The face-off was triggered when a Pakistani truck was on Friday caught bringing in over 100kg of brown sugar, a narcotic. The truck was detained and its driver arrested by J&K police, in retaliation to which Pakistani authorities closed the border, detaining the trucks that had gone to deliver goods at Chakoti trade facilitation centre in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

"We are seeking intervention of Ministry of external affairs on the issue," minister of state for home Sajad Kichloo said.

PoK officials also suspended the Karavan-e-Aman (Peace Caravan) bus service, in what is seen as a pressure tactic. The Pakistanis have also claimed that their drivers had diplomatic immunity.

J&K divisional commissioner said when the district magistrate of Baramulla met the trade and travel director general of cross LoC trade, Brigadier (retired) Muhammad Ismail Khan, to resolve the impasse, he was surprised to hear the Pakistan official claim that as per the trade pact, these people had diplomatic immunity.

On Friday, Jammu and Kashmir police had detained a truck driver and seized his vehicle after recovering nearly 100kg contraband, valued at `100 in the international market. While the local police claimed that it was brown sugar, a police spokesman in Srinagar said laboratory results of the contents were awaited.

“As the news of the driver’s arrest spread, the Pakistan Army did not any allow any traffic to ply across the LoC,” a source said.

“Right now, 49 trucks from Pakistan are waiting at Salamabad and 25 from this side have been stopped at Chakothi,” a trader said.

A meeting held at 3pm with Pakistan authorities failed to yield a solution, with Pakistan remaining adamant on its stand that the arrested driver be released.

(With agency inputs)


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