Cross-LoC trade stand-off resolved, trucks to roll on again
The stand-off between India and Pakistan over the cross-LoC trade has ended and the detained vehicles of the two sides are likely to cross over Wednesday evening.
According to state and central government sources, the trade stand-off was resolved at the high commissioners' level by the two countries.
"All the 27 Indian drivers and their vehicles that were detained by Pakistani authorities at Chakote trade facilitation centre in Muzaffarabad Jan 18 will come back while 48 Pakistani drivers and vehicles will cross over to the Pakistan-controlled side at the Kaman Post this (Wednesday) evening," a state government source told IANS here.
Senior central government sources said the trade standoff was resolved Tuesday.
"Drivers and vehicles of the two sides were to cross over yesterday evening, but Pakistani trade authorities communicated that they were not prepared for the same yesterday," a central government official said.
"They have confirmed that the drivers and vehicles should cross over today evening," he added.
The stand-off in the cross-LoC trade started Jan 17 when Indian authorities recovered 114 packets of brown sugar hidden in almond bags from a truck that had come with trade goods from Muzaffarabad to Salamabad trade facilitation centre in north Kashmir's Baramulla district.
Police in Baramulla district subsequently detained the driver and his vehicle after lodging a first information report (FIR) while the remaining 48 Pakistan drivers and their vehicles were allowed to return to Muzaffarabad.
Pakistani officials refused entry to their 48 drivers and vehicles asserting that the detained driver and his vehicle should also be allowed to return.
In addition to this, 27 Indian drivers and their vehicles were also detained by Pakistani authorities to mount pressure on India for the release of the driver arrested on charges of drug smuggling.
With the stand-off being resolved, it is hoped the cross-LoC trade between the two sides would soon resume.
Cross-LoC trade takes place between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad through the Kaman Post on the Indian side in north Kashmir's Baramulla district.
It also takes place through Poonch-Rawlakote route via Chakan-Da-Bagh crossing-over point in Poonch district of Jammu region.
(Posted on 12-02-2014)