LOC standoff: Peace bus resumes on Monday

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Trade to wait: officials hopeful of solution 

SRINAGAR: The bus services between divided parts of Kashmir will resume Monday after remaining suspended since face-off between India and Pakistan over seizure of contraband from a LoC truck driver from Pakistan controlled Kashmir.

“The bus service will resume from Monday,” Deputy Commissioner Baramulla, Khawaja Ghulam Ahmad said. 

The decision, he said, was taken at a meeting of official from Kashmir and Pak at LoC here.

“The meeting started at around 3:30 and concluded after one and half hour,” the Deputy Commissioner said. 

However, there was no breakthrough in restoring the trade via LOC even as the Deputy Commissioner expressed hope about resumption within one week.

‘Hopefully, the trade will also resume. We have in detail informed the official delegation (from other side) over the laws governing the subject,” he added.

Khawaja headed the official team from Kashmir which comprised SP Baramulla Zubair Khan, SDM Uri Abdul Aziz and SHO Uri Mohammad Abdullal. From Pak, the official delegation was led by DG trade Brig (Retd) Mohammad Ismail.

Trade across the Line of Control (LoC) was disrupted on Jan 17 after the arrest of the driver and seizure of the vehicle by Indian authorities. Pakistani authorities later detained 27 drivers who had crossed over to Chakote with trade goods and refused entry to 48 of its own trucks, demanding the Indian authorities release the arrested driver and allow the return of all 49 trucks that had come to the Salamabad trade centre in Baramulla district Jan 17.

Brig. (retd) Muhammad Ismail Khan, director general of trade and travel of Pakistan, told Indian officials during a meeting to resolve the deadlock that the Pakistani driver could not be arrested by India as he had diplomatic immunity.

Pakistan also said bus services between Uri-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawlakote would remain suspended till the deadlock is resolved. 

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