World Bulletin / News Desk
Trade and bus services between India and Pakistan through Kashmir have been suspended after Indian authorities arrested a Pakistani driver for allegedly transporting 114 kilograms of heroin.
Following the arrest on Sunday, both countries' authorities retaliated by detaining more drivers on either side of the Line of Control (LoC) that separates Indian and Pakistani-held Jammu and Kashmir.
Pakistan demanded the release of Muhammad Shafiq Awan and detained 27 Indian trucks that had passed into Pakistan-held-Kashmir. Indian authorities responded by holding 48 Pakistani trucks.
“The heroin was worth over INR 100 Crore (US$16 million) on the international market and was concealed under a cover of almonds.
After the recovery of the narcotic drugs, the authorities suspended the LoC trade,” said Kashmir police chief, JP Singh.
Singh added that the event has prompted the authorities to scrutinize trade across the LoC more closely.
"Anyone found involved in illegality will be debarred from conducting trade and their permit will be cancelled," Singh said.
Officials involved in trade across the LoC have met to resolve the issue but were unable to end the stand-off.
The cross-LoC trade between the divided parts of Kashmir started as one of the biggest Confidence Building Measures (CBM) by New Delhi and Islamabad in 2008. The trade, however, has remained limited to the bartering of goods from both sides.
A bus service, which allows families who live on both sides of the border to visit each other, has also been suspended.
Trade across the LoC was suspended in September 2013 for a period of almost six weeks, over a disagreement on the origin of goods being traded.
India and Pakistan have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965, and 1971 – since they were partitioned in 1947, two of which were fought over Kashmir.Last Mod: 20 Ocak 2014, 14:45