India, Pakistan trade on Kashmir border suspended
Trade across the de facto border between India and Pakistan in the disputed region of Kashmir has been suspended following the arrest of a truck driver by the Indian officials.
“We were informed by the Indian authorities on Friday evening that they have stopped 22 Pakistani trucks which crossed the Line of Control earlier that day,” Basharat Iqbal, trade facilitation officer on the Pakistani side of the border, said on Sunday.
He added that the Pakistani authorities were informed that Indian officials had found “12 kilograms (26 pounds) of opium from a truck carrying oranges and were taking an action against the driver.”
Imtiaz Wayen, director-general of Pakistani Kashmir’s trade and travel authority, meanwhile, said India does not have the right to stop Pakistani drivers on charges of smuggling.
“According to our agreement, if they find any banned item in our trucks they are bound to hand over that item and the relevant truck driver to us for further action,” he added.
Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials have been informed of the arrest and asked to take action over the issue, he noted.
India, meanwhile, has yet to comment on the issue.
India and its neighbor, Pakistan, have been engaged in a serious dispute over Kashmir since their independence from British colonial rule in 1947. The arch-rivals lay claim to the whole region but each of them only controls a section of it.
The two countries agreed to a ceasefire along the Line of Control in 2003, and a year later launched talks aimed at brokering a regional peace.
The process was, however, suspended after over 160 people lost their lives in the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, which New Delhi blamed on Pakistan-based militants.
New Delhi and Islamabad started barter trade across the de facto border in 2008 as part of peace efforts. However, disputes often disrupt the trade.