High drama at LoC: India, Pakistan stop convoys of either side

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KL Report

SRINAGAR

January 18, 2014

A high drama unfolded at the LoC near Slamabad after recovery of 114 packets of brown sugar from a Pakistani truck carrying almonds. As J&K police booked the driver and seized the truck that carried the huge volume of drugs valuing over Rs 100 crore, Pakistani army did not accept its convoy and sought all the trucks.

Reports from Slamabad said the Pakistani trucks that had crossed to the Slamabad were waiting at Kaman Post till 3 am in the night to get permission to cross the LoC. After it was formally denied, the caravan returned back to Slamabad trade facilitation centre (TFC).

“Right now the situation is that we have 49 Pakistani trucks at Slamabad and there are 25 trucks from this side in Chakothi,” one trade told The KL from Slamabad. “Now the two sides are expected to meet at zero line at around 3 pm to sort out the issue.”

The brown sugar was recovered during the routine scanning exercise on Friday. Initially police said it is something suspicious but it was later identified as brown sugar. Police immediately arrested the truck driver and seized the truck. But Pakistan army refused to accept the incomplete convoy of trucks and did not permit the trucks from this side to return home.

The truck was carrying almonds for a  Bandipore based trader Showkat Habib. Police have arrested the trader and another Baramulla based trader Traiq. “We have been told that a couple of more people have also been rounded up,” a trader from Slamabad said.

A senior cross LoC trader said Showkat was actually a forwarding and commissioning agent of an Amritsar based trader. “We do not know how it happened and who owns the brown sugar,” a senior trader said. “It will be unveiled by the police now.”

The trader surprised how the brown sugar laden truck was permitted into J&K. “There is a check post where the security agencies of Pakistan are scanning everything that is sent to J&K and we also have the same system,” the trader said. He was at loss to offer any plausible explanation why it should happen. However, he was categoric that last time when a few kilograms of brown sugar were recovered from a north Kashmir truck that had crossed with merchandise to other side, the investigations were lazy. “Had the police acted tough then, it might not have happened now,” the trader, currently in Delhi, said.

This is not for the first time that the trucks from either side are hostaged on either side. Two years back, a similar situation emerged over some administrative issue.

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