Current Impasse First Test Of Intra-Kashmir Trade: Pak

Current Impasse First Test Of Intra-Kashmir Trade: Pak

24 January 2014
PTI
Snehesh Alex Philip

Islamabad: With intra-Kashmir trade suspended for a week, Pakistan today said it is keen on resolving the impasse which it described as the 'first test' of the arrangement on contacts and movement of goods between the two sides of the region. 'We have a very deep interest in the process, the crossing point, the meeting points between the divided Kashmiri families and subsequently the trade routes,' Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam told PTI. 'They contribute to building an atmosphere where Pakistan and India and of course Kashmiris can move towards settlement of the Kashmir dispute which is part of the composite dialogue. This has been working well. And this is the first test of the arrangements,' she said. Indian authorities seized over 100 kg of heroin concealed in a truck carrying nuts from the Pakistani side. Pakistan halted cross-border trade and bus services across the Line of Control after the seizure last Friday. While 21 Indian truck drivers are stranded in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, 49 Pakistani drivers and trucks are stranded in Jammu and Kashmir. Aslam said there is a strong desire among Kashmiris for these contacts, which are 'positive steps'. 'We want want intra-Kashmir trade to resume at the earliest,' she said. It is not a good situation that truck drivers from both sides are stranded, she added. An offence like drug trafficking 'is certainly a serious crime' that Pakistan takes seriously, she remarked. 'But it is one side's version against the other. How do we come to that definite conclusion that there were drugs and there were no drugs,' she said. 'We are in contact and both sides are discussing it and we have a strong desire to resume and we hope and believe that the other side shares that desire.'