India Summons Pak Deputy High Commissioner Over Kashmir Trade Suspension

India Summons Pak Deputy High Commissioner Over Kashmir Trade Suspension

21 January 2014
Express Tribune


New Delhi: India has summoned Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner in India over Pakistan’s decision to suspend the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad Bus and Truck Service following the alleged smuggling case of a Pakistani truck driver involved in cross-border trade with India, according to Press Trust of India. India had detained a truck driver from Azad Kashmir for allegedly smuggling drugs in the garb of cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade. As Pakistan demanded that the driver be released, India refused. Talks stalemated with Pakistan detaining 27 Indian truck drivers in Azad Kashmir in a tit-for-tat move, with Indian Kashmir officials detaining 48 more trucks from Pakistan. On January 19, the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Travel and Trade Authority (Tata) announced it would suspend the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad Bus and Truck Service until India released the drivers. Possibility of propaganda Talking to The Express Tribune on Sunday, TATA Director General (DG) Brig (retd) Muhammad Ismail said this was the second time India had spread ‘malicious propaganda’ against traders from AJK. He called for introducing a joint mechanism to avoid the suspension 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. “Making such claims without any proof or proper investigation will only benefit those who want to close the bus service and cross-LoC trade for good.” Brig Ismail said the manner in which Indian authorities recovered drugs from one of the trucks created doubts about the incident. “The presence of the Indian media and Anti-Narcotics Force when the recovery was made creates the impression that it was a drama planned to coincide with Commerce Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan’s talks with his counterpart in New Delhi.” In response to a query as to why India would make ‘false claims’, the TATA DG said some elements in the Indian military did not want enhanced trade ties with Pakistan. On Monday, TATA wrote a letter to the Foreign Office asking them to take up the matter with Indian High Commission and Pakistani High Commissioner in New Delhi. Meanwhile, the Indian Jammu and Kashmir police have registered an FIR against the AJK truck driver Muhammad Shafiq who was accused of smuggling the drugs. The DG Tata added that Indians have failed to provide proof of drug smuggling so far.