Cross-LoC trade suspended again

Srinagar:  The cross LoC trade once again failed to resume on Thursday as the drivers in the Pakistan administered Kashmir (Pak) reiterated their demand for the release of the detained driver.Officials told GNS the PaK traders and drivers refused to resume the trade unless their driver arrested on charges of smuggling narcotics into Valley is not released. “On 18 Feb we decided to resume trade on Feb 20. However, unfortunately the trade remained suspended today after the PaK Trade Facilitation
Officer, Basharat Ahmad called me last evening saying that their traders and drivers are not ready yet, Custodian Showkat Ahmad told GNS.
From this side, he said, the drivers were ready to push their trucks to the other side. However, from PaK, he said, the drivers were not ready to cross into Valley.
Meanwhile, sources told GNS that the PaK traders deliberately halted the trade today following the detention of their driver. The demand of Pak traders is to set free the detained driver and accordingly the trade will be resumed.
Meanwhile, the trade was resumed in at Chakan-Da-Bagh-Rawakote in the Jammu area, nine trucks each from PaK and Jammu crossed over.
Pertinently, Indo-Pak officials have held series of six meetings in the past to resolve the crisis caused by the arrest of the Pakistani driver. The first and second meetings on January 18, and January 27, remained inconclusive, while the meeting on January 30 was partially successful as both the sides announced to resume travel ties. The fourth round of talks over the resumption of the trade ties remained inconclusive with Pakistan officials reiterating their demand for the release of their detained driver.
However, trade across the Line of Control (LoC) remained suspended. The commerce was suspended on January 17 after the arrest of the driver and seizure of the vehicle by India. Pakistani authorities later detained 27 drivers and their vehicles from India who had gone to Chakote near Muzaffarabad with trade goods.
Pakistan also refused entry to 48 of its own trucks, demanding the Indian authorities to 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. (GNS)