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Working with Pakistan but driver caught smuggling narcotics to face action as per law: India

Thursday, 23 January 2014 - 7:13pm IST | Agency: PTI

India today said it was working with Pakistan to resolve the situation arising out of arrest of a Pakistani driver for smuggling narcotics worth Rs 100 crore across the LoC but made it clear that the criminal will have to face the "full force of Indian law".

The Foreign Ministries of the two countries were making all efforts to resolve the situation as early as possible, official Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry said admitting it was a "difficult situation" for the Indian drivers who have not been allowed to return by the authorities in PoK which are demanding release of their driver.

India has already summoned Pakistan Acting High Commissioner on Tuesday in connection with the suspension of Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Rawalakot-Poonch bus services by Pakistan, which has demanded release of its driver.

Observing that there were Confidence-Building Measures relating to trans-LoC trade and travel which bring about immense humanitarian benefits to people of Jammu and Kashmir, the Spokesperson said, "It is surprising that these CBMs have been chosen by Pakistan to be held hostage for the sake of persons indulging in drug trafficking".

The Spokesperson said though the two ministries are making efforts to resolve the issue, there was "no modality which exempts any person alleged to be involved in criminal activity from facing the full force of Indian law".

Tension mounted at the Kaman post area in North Kashmir when police last week 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.

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.

Asked about reports that the Pakistani driver has diplomatic immunity, the Spokesperson said there was no immunity that exempts a person in that category if he is alleged to be involved in criminal activity.

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


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