India won't release Pak driver who smuggled narcotics

He will face action as per country's law, New Delhi tells Islamabad

Trade and travel across the Line of Control (LoC) remained suspended, as New Delhi rejected Islamabad’s demand for release of a Pakistani driver arrested for smuggling narcotics into India.

The Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday rejected Islamabad’s plea that the arrested Pakistani driver enjoyed immunity against legal proceedings in India.

“There is no modality that exempts any person alleged to be involved in criminal activity from facing the full force of Indian law,” said the MEA official spokesperson, Syed Akbaruddin.

The authorities in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) have detained 27 trucks from India, along with the drivers, at Chakoti across the LoC since Friday.

Pakistani authorities detained the vehicles from India, after a truck coming from  PoK was impounded by Indian authorities on the Jammu and Kashmir side of the LoC for carrying 114 packets of narcotics valued at Rs 100 crore in the international market. 

The driver of the Pakistani vehicle was also arrested by the authorities in India.

Two others were also arrested as they were to receive the illegal consignment.

Pakistani authorities also indicated that they would not allow the Srinagar-Muzzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalakot bus services to run their regular services till the impounded truck and arrested driver were released by the authorities in India.

New Delhi on Thursday noted that that the Confidence-Building Measures (CBMs) related to trans-LoC trade and travel brought about immense humanitarian benefits to people of Kashmir.

“It is surprising that the CBMs have been chosen by Pakistan to be held hostage for the sake of persons indulging in drug trafficking,” said the MEA official spokesperson.

Altogether 48 PoK truck drivers are also stranded on the Indian side of the LoC.

Akbaruddin said that foreign ministries of the two countries were making all efforts to resolve the situation as early as possible.

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