Sgr-Muz bus suspended as Indo-Pak standoff at LoC continues

Fayaz Bukhari
SRINAGAR, Feb 8: As the Indo-Pakistan standoff continued along the Line of Control (LoC) following the arrest of a Pakistani driver from whose truck narcotics was recovered on Friday and authorities here suspended Karwan-e-Aman bus service between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad.
The authorities here suspended the weekly Karvan-e-Aman bus service between India and Pakistan following the standoff at the LoC in Uri. The 78 truck drivers along with their trucks continue to be stranded on either side of the LoC after Friday’s recovery of narcotics from a Pakistani truck containing oranges at Salamabad and police have arrested four persons including PoK truck driver.
The bus service that runs on every Monday between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad was today suspended due to standoff. This is not for the first time that the bus service was suspended. Last year the service remained suspended following a similar kind of standoff when police recovered over 100 kilograms of brown sugar from a Pakistani truck. However, it was resumed later after the intervention of the External Affairs Ministries of the two countries.
In the meantime, sources said that Zahoor Ahmad Malla alias Raju Trali is a small fry in the case. They said that police are investigating the case and likely to lay hands on the main culprits who are influential people. They said that this consignment has also links with Punjab and was meant for drug smugglers there.
DIG, North Kashmir, Gareeb Das told Excelsior that police have lodged an FIR and two persons, truck driver Syed Inayat Hussain Shah, resident of Kumikote Muzaffarbad and consignee  Zahoor Ahmad Malla alias Raju Trali, resident of Mir Sahib Old Town Baramulla, have been arrested while two others were questioned. He said that more arrests are likely.
Meanwhile, the Pakistani authorities have asked Indian authorities in Uri that the driver of the truck should be released along with the seized drugs so that he can be prosecuted in Pakistan. They are also demanding release of the truck driver who was arrested last year in a similar case. However, Indian authorities have refused to release the driver and told the Pakistani authorities that they will not release the driver and he will be prosecuted here under Indian law.
The authorities in Kashmir are in constant touch with the External Affairs Ministry in New Delhi over the standoff and the seizure of the contraband haul.
It may be mentioned here that Police recovered over 9 kilogram narcotics from a Pakistani truck bearing registration number P-9627 on Friday. The driver was arrested and truck seized leading to a standoff at the LoC. Around 28 trucks had arrived in Salamabad on Friday and 50 trucks from Salamabad had left for Chakoti in Muzaffarabad carrying various items. All the Indian trucks alongwith drivers are stranded on Pakistan side of the LoC while all Pakistani trucks along with drivers are stranded in Indian side on the LoC.
This is not for the first time that there was any stand off on the LoC due to recovery of narcotics. On January 17 last year, Police seized 114 packets of brown sugar from a truck (RIS-2137) driven by Mohammad Shafiq of Sarwar Muzafarabad in Salamabad Uri.
27 Indian trucks along with their drivers were detained by Pakistan and they didn’t allow their own 48 Pakistani trucks and their drivers to return for about three weeks. However, the matter was later resolved by the External Affairs Ministries of both the countries and the trucks alongwith drivers were allowed to cross to their respective countries except the driver from whose truck the brown sugar was recovered.
India and Pakistan started cross LoC trade in Jammu and Kashmir from Uri in Kashmir and Chakan-da-Bagh in Jammu in 2006, a year after Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service was started in April 2005 first time after the partition.


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