Pak Detains 27 Trucks, Refuses To Take PoK Trucks

Pak Detains 27 Trucks, Refuses To Take PoK Trucks

18 January 2014
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: For the first time since the trans-Line of Control (LoC) between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad was started in 2008, authorities in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) detained 27 trucks that had gone with goods as part of LoC trade from Salamabad Trade Facilitation Centre, Uri to Chakoti Trade Facilitation Centre, Muzaffarabad and refused to take back 48 PoK trucks that arrived here yesterday. The Deputy Commissioner Baramulla, Khawaja Ghulam Ahmad, told Excelsior that today a meeting with the PoK authorities was held at Aman Setu to diffuse the crisis arisen after the arrest of driver of a PoK truck and seizure of truck from which 114 kilogramme narcotics was recovered yesterday at Salamabad, Uri in Baramulla district. Khawaja said that meeting lasted for two and a half hours but Pakistani authorities were demanding return of all 49 trucks that crossed into Salamabad Trade Facilitation Centre from PoK but “we refused to release the truck and its driver”. “We made it clear to the PoK officials that narcotics was recovered from the truck and it was seized and its driver has been arrested and as per the law he can’t be released on bail. However, PoK authorities were adamant that the driver should be released so that he will be tried in PoK. But we insisted that driver can’t be released as narcotics were recovered from his truck at Salamabad and he can be tried in Kashmir only”, said Khawaja. The Deputy Commissioner said: “We have informed our Government and the PoK officials who attended the meeting have also informed their Government and once any direction comes from the Central Government we will convey it to PoK authorities and similarly once Pakistani authorities inform the PoK officials about any decision they will convey it to us.” The officials who participated in the meeting held at the Aman Setu include Deputy Commissioner Baramulla Ghulam Ahmed Khawaja, SDPO Uri, Govind Ratan and SDM Uri Abdul Aziz. The PoK officials who attended the meeting were led by Director General trans-LoC Trade, Retired Brigadier Mohammad Ismael Khan. Police today formally arrested Mohammad Shafiq Awan son of Abdul Aziz Awan of Shard, Muzaffarabad, PoK from whose truck 114 kilogramme narcotics was recovered. A senior police officer told Excelsior that two more persons were arrested in connection with the recovery of the narcotics. He said that as per the prima facie evidence, the driver of the truck is not involved in the narcotics trade. He told police that the almonds were loaded in the truck at Kabotar Valley in Rawalpindi. Deputy Inspector General of Police, North Kashmir, J P Singh today said that it seems that Pakistan is directly involved in the smuggling of narcotics and they want to foment trouble in Kashmir. While addressing a press conference in Baramulla today the police officer said: “A very strange thing has happened when we seized this contraband. We registered a case and you know the procedure is when we register a case we have to arrest the driver who was carrying it. So accordingly under the law, driver has been detained and vehicle has also been detained. But Pakistan authorities reportedly have refused to take other vehicles back which indicates that Pakistan authorities to some extent are involved or are backing this kind of trade.” “The drugs may have been sent by the ISI or any other agency based in Pakistan to foment trouble in Kashmir. ISI and other agencies in Pakistan want to mislead Kashmiri youth. The consignment may have been part of the conspiracy, we are going to investigate in thoroughly,” said the DIG. Singh said: “We are investigating that for whom the drugs were. The businessmen associated with the trade will be investigated about the seizure. We have already detained some traders in this connection. The credentials of all the traders who are part of the trade will be investigated properly to avoid any untoward incident.” The DIG while giving details about the recovery of drugs said: “What happened that during the routine checking of vehicles that come from across the border, our boys, the police, security, customs authority, people who were checking vehicles got suspicious about one vehicle which was carrying almonds as a consignment from Chakoti to some trader in Bandipora in North Kashmir.” “On getting suspicious about the consignment, the boys checked these almond bags. The bags were weighing more than the normal. On checking nine almond bags were containing 114 packets of allegedly brown sugar. We have sent the material to laboratory for testing and as per local laboratory testing it has got good quantity of brown sugar. Each packet contains one kilogramme of brown sugar which means 114 kilogrammes of brown sugar were recovered. It is the biggest contraband haul and its international market price is Rs 100 crore”, said Singh. This is the first time that the trucks were detained by Pakistan and it refused to take back its own trucks since barter trade of around two dozen listed items between India and Pakistan that operates for four days a week through Aman Setu LoC from Salamabad Trade Facilitation Centre in Uri to Chakoti Trade Facilitation Centre, Muzaffarabad was started in October 2008 as part of Jammu and Kashmir specific Confidence Building Measure between India and Pakistan.