No breakthrough cross LoC bus, truck service remain suspended

SRINAGAR :  Kashmiri and  Pakistan Occupied  Kashmir (POK) trucks and their drivers remained stranded on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) as cross border truck service remained suspended.
Despite several rounds of talks between the authorities of POK and administration in north Kashmir, no break through was achieved  so far in resolving the crisis following arrest of a driver after recovery of drugs from a POK truck at Trade Facilitation Centre (TFC), Salamabad, Uri, official sources told UNI.
They said POK authorities have been informed about the recovery of drug from a truck at TFC on Friday.    However, POK authorities are insisting that the accused driver, truck and drugs recovered should be handed over to them to initiating proceedings there, they said, adding we are still in contact with them and hope to resolve the crisis soon. We have informed them that the driver will be tried in local court here.    They said both the sides have agreed to continue to the  trade between the two parts.
Meanwhile, the relatives of truck drivers who have been stopped in POK by authorities after detention of a driver from across the LoC on last Friday,  staged dharna demanding their (drivers) release.
The traders alleged that their goods, loaded in trucks and stored at TFC will get damaged if crisis are not resolved.    Director general of trade in POK Imtiyaz had said bus and truck service will remain suspended till the stand off is resolved.
The weekly bus service, operating between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad, capital of POK, was suspended on Monday as stand off continued following arrest of a driver at Salamabad Trade Facilitation Centre (TFC) after recovery of narcotics from a truck which had come from across the LoC on Friday.    About 300 packets containing narcotics were recovered from orange boxes from a POK truck on Friday at TFC at Salamabad, Uri, in north Kashmir district of Baramulla.    Driver driver of truck Syed Inayat Hussain Shah, resident  of Kumikote Muzaffarbad, capital of POK, besides a local trader Zahoor Ahmad Malla alias Raju Trali, a resident of Baramulla were arrested. Two other local traders were also questioned.    They said 22 trucks loaded with different commodities had arrived at Salamabad while 50 trucks from here crossed over to other side of the LoC.
These trucks remained at Chakoti in POK and Salamabad, Uri as POK authorities demanded that driver and truck besides seized drugs should be handed over to them so that the accused could be tried there.
Mr Imtiyaz said they were informed by Indian  authorities that brown sugar has been seized from a truck of POK. But, he said, no evidence was given so far.
This is the third time drugs were recovered from POK  trucks since the cross border trade was resumed in 2008 after remaining suspended since 1947.
Last year, the service remained suspended for about three weeks after police recovered over 100 kilograms of brown sugar from a POK truck. However, it was resumed later after the intervention of the External Affairs Ministries of the two countries.
The authorities in Kashmir are in constant touch with the External Affairs Ministry in New Delhi over the stand off. (AGENCIES)

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