LOC Standoff Resolved: Truckers Return Home

SRINAGAR: Stranded trucker drivers from both sides of Kashmir crossed the Line of Control Wednesday after a 26-day-standoff, with Pakistan agreeing to let the truckers go home. 

The breakthrough had been achieved a day earlier when Pakistan agreed to delink the release of the driver arrested on charges of drug smuggling from the rest of the drivers held up on the two sides of LoC.

Earlier Pakistan had not allowed the trucks from either side to cross the LoC unless Indian authorities released the PcK trucker arrested in Uri. 

While there has been no word on resumption of Cross-LOC-trade, authorities are hopeful that it will also be resumed shortly.

“Our 27 drivers are returning home safely and I think they will arrive here in the evening. Similarly, the 48 PAK drivers have also been allowed to return to their respective places,” Khwaja Ghulam Ahmad, Deputy Commissioner Baramulla told a local news agency. 

Ahmad said that the matter had been taken up with the ministry of external affairs and that is how the two countries have agreed to settle the issue amicably.

“The arrested driver will have to undergo the legal course of action and that is how his case will be resolved,” the DC Baramulla said, adding that he can be released only on a court order.

President Salamabad-Chakoti Traders Union Hilal Ahmad Turkie said that the detained drivers and they have almost crossed over to their respective sides on LoC.  

“They have reached at the zero point and all the drivers have been released except one namely Mohammad Shafi Awan-a driver from whose truck the brown sugar was seized.”

Turkey said that it was a welcome step that both the countries have decided to break the ice and that the same is expected in future. 

“We want that a detailed meet between the traders of both the sides must take place so that no such action that earns a bad name to trade could take place.” 

Awan, a truck driver from Pakistan controlled Kashmir was arrested after the authorities at Salamabad TFC claimed to have recovered 114 packets of brown sugar from his truck on January 17. The incident halted the trade activities from the both the sides and the drivers along with their trucks got stranded at Salamabad and Chakoti.

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