World Bulletin / News Desk
India has summoned Pakistan's top diplomatic envoy in India on Wednesday to resolve a three-day trade stand-off along the Line of Control (LoC) which separates the two countries in the Kashmir area.
Indian officials will meet with Pakistan's Mansoor Ahmed Khan to end the dispute which began when a Pakistani truck driver, allegedly transporting 114 kilograms of heroin, was arrested by Indian authorities.
"We are working towards resolving the matter through diplomatic channels," said Syed Akbaruddin, a spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs.
All trade and bus services through the LoC was suspended on Sunday after the arrest sparked a tit-for-tat truck searches from authorities on both sides.
"We find it surprising that for the sake of persons indulging in drug trafficking, Pakistan had chosen to hold hostage trans-LOC trade and travel," said Akbaruddin.
General Muhammad Ismail, manager of the Pakistan side's trade authority, called the event "malicious propaganda" and said that it was the second time India had acted against traders from the Pakistani side of Kashmir. Ismail urged the introduction of a joint mechanism to avoid future suspensions of cross-LoC trade.
"In the future, if authorities on either side of the ceasefire line recover any prohibited items from trucks moving across the LoC, it must be brought into the notice of the other side immediately," he said.
Trade across between the divided parts of Kashmir was started as one of the biggest Confidence Building Measures (CBM) implemented by New Delhi and Islamabad in 2008 to ease disputes in the region. The trade, however, has remained limited to the bartering of goods from both sides.
A cross-LoC bus carrying 21 passengers leaving the Indian-held Kashmir on Monday was refused entry into the Pakistani side. Forty-nine stranded truck drivers from the Pakistani-controlled Kashmir have been put up the Trade Facilitation center in Uri, IHK.
"We have been here for four days now and we want to go back to our homes and families, but we will not go back without our fellow driver who is being accused of carrying drugs," Tahir Hussain Shah, a stranded truck driver from PHK told Anadolu Agency (AA). "The matter is between the two governments now and we hope they resolve it soon."
It is not the first time trade has been stopped across the LOC. It was last suspended in September 2013 for a period of almost six weeks over a disagreement on the origin of goods being traded.Last Mod: 22 Ocak 2014, 13:46