NEW DELHI: India summoned Pakistan Deputy 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 national arrested for alleged smuggling of narcotics worth 1 billion rupees across the LoC, the Press Trust of India reported.
It said Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner Mansoor Ahmed Khan was summoned by the Joint Secretary in-charge of the Pakistan division in the Ministry of External Affairs, Rudrendra Tandon, and delivered a “strong diplomatic message”.
Authorities in Pakistan-administered Kashmir on Wednesday suspended the cross-Line of Control (LoC) bus service on Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Rawalakot-Poonch sectors demanding the release of the Pakistani driver, the PTI said.
According to the report, tension mounted at the Kaman post area in North Kashmir when police detained a truck allegedly carrying 114 packets of brown sugar, valued at Rs1 billion 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 Muzaffarabad detained 27 Indian truck drivers and demanded release of their driver.
The deadlock intensified when authorities in Srinagar were informed by Muzaffarabad about suspension of bus services on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Rawalakot-Poonch sector.
An Indian foreign ministry spokesman expressed surprise that Pakistan “chose to hold hostage” trans-border trade and bus services, which bring immense humanitarian benefits across the borders, for the sake of saving those who indulge in drug trade.
He also said the foreign ministries of the two countries were trying to resolve the situation as early as possible.
While one driver has been arrested, 48 others from Pakistan side of Kashmir are stranded at Salamabad Trade Facilitation Centre since the stand-off began last week, the PTI said. The passenger bus service was started in April 2005 while the trade began in October 2008.