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Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service resumes

Srinagar, Feb 3 : The Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service was re-started Monday after it was suspended for three weeks following deadlock over the arrest of a Pakistani driver from whose vehicle a large quantity of brown sugar was seized.


"The operation of Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service was resumed today (Monday).

"Nineteen passengers are going to Muzaffarabad from our side today and 29 are coming from Muzaffarabad," Ghulam Ahmad Khwaja, district magistrate of north Kashmir Baramulla district said.

The operations on Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawlakote bus service was suspended after Pakistan authorities linked the release of the Pakistani driver to resumption of the bus service.

The Pakistani driver was arrested and his vehicle seized after authorities recovered 114 packets of narcotics from his vehicle. The narcotics had been hidden in almond bags. The consignment was valued at Rs.100 crore.

Subsequent lab tests confirmed that the seized narcotic was brown sugar.

Pakistan authorities detained 27 drivers and their vehicles from the Indian side linking the resumption of the cross-LoC trade and the operation of the peace bus with the release of the arrested driver who they said enjoyed diplomatic immunity.

Pakistan had also not allowed the return of their 48 drivers and vehicles Jan 18 asserting that all the 49 drivers and their vehicles should be allowed to return.

Kashmir Divisional Commissioner Shailender Kumar told media persons in summer capital Srinagar Monday that the Pakistani authorities are now not insisting on the return of the arrested driver.

"They are now asking for copies of the FIR lodged against the arrested driver and they have also asked for copies of the investigation report in the case.

"There should be no problem with giving them a copy of the FIR once somebody applies for it," said Kumar.

He added that "as far as the copies of investigations (case diaries) by the police are concerned, these are property of the court and hence cannot be given by us".

He, however, hoped that the cross-LoC trade would resume within the next few days.

"I am hopeful the matter should be resolved within the next one or two days," he said.

--IANS (Posted on 04-02-2014)

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