India summons Pak deputy envoy on cross-LoC bus services

India summons Pak deputy envoy on cross-LoC bus services

India today summoned Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner in connection with the suspension of Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Rawalakot-Poonch bus services by Pakistan, which has demanded release of its national arrested for smuggling narcotics worth Rs 100 crore across the LoC.

Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner Mansoor Ahmed Khan was summoned by Joint Secretary, in-charge of the Pakistan division in Ministry of External Affairs, Rudrendra Tandon in South Block and delivered a strong diplomatic message.

Khan is at present the Acting High Commissioner.

Authorities in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) yesterday suspended the cross-Line of Control (LoC) bus service on Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Rawalakot-Poonch sectors demanding the release of the Pakistani driver.

Tension mounted at the Kaman post area in North Kashmir when police on Friday detained a truck carrying 114 packets of brown sugar, valued at Rs 100 crore in international market, and arrested the driver along with two more people from Bandipore who were to receive the consignment.

In a tit-for-tat action, authorities in PoK detained 27 Indian truck drivers and demanded release of their driver.

The deadlock intensified when authorities in Kashmir were informed by the PoK about suspension of bus services on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Rawalakot-Poonch sector.

It was surprising that Pakistan "choose to hold hostage" trans-border trade and bus services which brings immense humanitarian benefits across the borders for the sake of saving those who indulge in drug trafficking, Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs said.

He also said the Foreign Ministries of the two countries were making all efforts to resolve the situation as early as possible.

While one driver has been arrested, 48 other drivers from PoK are also stranded at Salamabad Trade Facilitation Centre since the stand-off began last week.

The passenger bus service was started in April 2005 while the trade began in October 2008. 

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