Drug haul: PaK accuses Indian authorities of blame-game

‘They Want To Rollback Kashmir-Specific CBM On Flimsy Grounds’


Muzaffarabad, Jan 20: Director General AJK Travel and Trade Authority (TATA), Brig (retired) Muhammad Ismail, today said no trade or travel would take place through any of the crossing points between the two parts of Kashmir from Monday.
 Ismail, who supervises the travel and trade between the divided parts of Kashmir accused the Indian authorities of resorting to “blame game” to bring the trans-LoC travel and trade into disrepute.
 Talking to a group of reporters here on Sunday, Ismail confirmed that trade or travel would not take place through any of the three crossing points from Monday.
 To mention, the trans-LoC travel through Chakothi-Uri, Tetrinote-Chakan da Bagh and Chilyana-Titwal takes place on Mondays, while the trade is conducted from the first two crossing points from Tuesday to Friday, every week.
  “We will be asking our Foreign Office to take up this issue with the government of India because at the moment it appears that Indian authorities want to rollback this Kashmir-specific confidence building measure (CBM) on flimsy grounds,” Ismail said.
 He said following a series of steps by the Indian authorities over the past one year he had duly informed the Foreign Office as well as the Indian authorities that India could break off trans-LoC trade under any pretext.
 “So far the trade was being done on the basis of mutual trust. But the developments over the past one year have scared our traders, drivers and passengers as they fear that Indian authorities can put them to trouble under any baseless allegation,” he said.
 On Friday, Indian authorities alleged to have seized 114 packets of heroin from one of the 49 trucks ferrying goods to other side from PaK. The driver of the truck was booked and lodged in a jail, and resultantly all 49 trucks and their drivers are stuck up in that part of Kashmir.
 The PaK authorities are also holding 27 trucks and their drivers that had brought goods here from that part of Kashmir. According to the SOP, both sides are required to return empty trucks simultaneously before the sunset on same day.
 Brig Ismail recalled that it was not for the first time that Indian authorities had resorted to allegations to malign and discourage trade and travel.
 In August last, Indian intelligence officials propagated through media that they had recovered cocaine and counterfeit Indian currency from a consignment that had arrived from PaK.
 Similar allegations were leveled on at least five other occasions, “but we were never formally informed or provided with any evidence, in spite of our demands, which speaks volumes about the veracity of their accusations,” he said.
 The DG pointed out that while the trade items would be loaded and unloaded on his side in the presence of the drivers and traders concerned, the practice on the other side of Kashmir was other way around.
 “In a situation where the drivers and traders concerned are not allowed near the trucks at the time of unloading, any contraband item can be added to cook up a story to malign the other side,” he said.
 It may be recalled that on August 29, last year, Indian authorities had returned two trucks of fresh fruit (mangoes) to PaK, maintaining that it could not accept items that were not of PaK origin, although the SOP had no mention of the origin of tradable goods.
 India’s stance, which was later withdrawn, had led to suspension of trade from Chakothi-Uri crossing point for almost five weeks.

Lastupdate on : Mon, 20 Jan 2014 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 20 Jan 2014 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 21 Jan 2014 00:00:00 IST

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