Cross-LoC trade deadlock ends

Baramulla: Trade across the Line of Control (LoC) resumed on Wednesday after being suspended for nearly a month, as the truckers detained in both parts of Kashmir returned to their destinations after officials from India and Pakistan reached an agreement.
All the 48 other drivers from Pakistan-administered, who were stranded at Salamabad Trade Facilitation Centre in Uri here, after their colleague was arrested by police for allegedly smuggling narcotics into the Valley, returned to PaK, officials said. The 27 Kashmiri drivers, who were detained at Chakoti across the LoC since the standoff began, also returned home late evening.
“All the Kashmiri drivers, who were detained by the PaK authorities, returned to Valley. The 48 PaK drivers along with their vehicles also reached their respective destinations. Everything went smooth,” Liaison Officer at the Salamabad Trade Centre, Showkat Ahmad Rather, told Kashmir Reader.
Earlier, Deputy Commissioner (DC) Baramulla, Ghulam Ahmad Khwaja said the decision to allow the stranded drivers to move to their respective destinations was taken during a meeting of top officials of the two countries.
“We tried to get into touch with PaK officials through hotline on Wednesday morning. However, the contact was not established. Later, a team of officials visited the LoC and held a meeting with their counterparts,” Khwaja said.
Among others, he said, the team from this side of the LoC included Liaison Officer Showkat Ahmad Rather, Sub-District Magistrate (SDM) Uri, Dr Abdul Aziz, and Station House Officer (SHO) Uri, Mohammad Abdullah.
The standoff began on January 18, a day after police detained driver of a truck from PaK, Mohammad Shafiq Awan, of Muzaffarabad, who was who was arrested with a truck allegedly carrying brown sugar worth Rs 100 crore. The challan of the vehicle had mentioned almonds as the goods being imported from PaK.
While Pakistan had been demanding release of its arrested driver, the Indian government had made it clear that the law of the land will take its course in respect of the PaK driver and the vehicle detained in connection with the recovery of drugs haul. As the deadlock had continued, Pakistan suspended cross-border bus service also until its demands were met. This was later resumed on February 3.
According to PTI, Pakistan finally agreed not to insist on its demand for release of the arrested driver and his vehicle as the Indian side made it clear that he will have to face the due process of law.
“The matter was taken up at diplomatic and other levels to find a solution,” the PTI said quoting sources.

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