Stranded Pakistani drivers threaten to stop cross-LoC bus
The 48 truckers from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), who have been stranded on the Indian side ever since a drug seizure was made by Indian authorities on the Line of Control (LoC) on January 17, have threatened to go on an agitation incase the cross-LoC bus is resumed.india Updated: Feb 01, 2014 22:06 IST
The 48 truckers from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), who have been stranded on the Indian side ever since a drug seizure was made by Indian authorities on the Line of Control (LoC) on January 17, have threatened to go on an agitation incase the cross-LoC bus is resumed.
In a hand-written press release, the drivers threatened that they would not allow the bus to ply "unless a decision was taken regarding them".
Since Thursday afternoon, the drivers have been protesting for the release of fellow truck driver Mohammad Shafiq Awan, who was arrested with the narcotics consignment.
Awan was carrying drugs under the garb of almonds from one Al Fajr, a trader in Muzaffarabad, to one Shaukat Habib of Bandipore district in north Kashmir. Both Awan and Shaukat were arrested by the Jammu and Kashmir police and the truck was compounded.
Laboratory confirmation of the drugs revealed that the narcotics seized was brown sugar, worth Rs 100 crore in the international market.
The district authorities, however, have assured that the bus service would resume without any hindrance.
"Our security setup is not so weak that a few drivers won't let the bus ply. We will resume the bus service on Sunday, and are moving in a positive direction regarding trade as well," said Ghulam Mohammad Khawaja, district comissioner Baramulla.
Pakistani authorities had closed the LoC crossing after detaining 27 Indian trucks that had crossed over to PoK to deliver goods at Chakoti trade facilitation centre in retaliation to the arrest of the truck driver and seizure of the truck carrying drugs.
Following the arrest, PoK authorities closed the border and demanded the release of the driver and the seized consignment. Pakistani authorities had also refused to let the 48 trucks from Muzaffarabad to return to PoK until the seized truck was also part of the convoy.
While the Centre is still working with Pakistan to resolve the issue on the trade between the two divided parts of the state, the cross-LoC bus service which was suspended for two weeks, would be resumed on Monday.