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Indo-Pak bus service suspended over truck driver’s arrest on drug charges

The Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service was on Monday suspended by authorities in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir over arrest of a driver from the other side of the LoC following recovery of narcotics from his vehicle.

The Karvan-e-Aman (Peace Caravan) Bus service between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad has been suspended indefinitely, official sources said. The sources said the decision was taken after PoK authorities conveyed their decision to suspended travel and trade along the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road till the issue regarding the arrest of their driver is resolved.

Anayat Hussain, a resident of Muzaffarabad, was arrested following recovery of the narcotics substance from his vehicle on Friday. A local trader Zahoor Ahmad Malla, who was to allegedly receive the consignment, has also been taken into custody.

A case under Section 8/21 of NDPS Act has been registered against the duo and investigations started. Authorities on Friday recovered 305 packets of suspected contraband substance from an orange-laden truck coming from PoK on Srinagar-Muzaffarabad Road.

The security officials during routine checking of goods imported from PoK at Salamabad Trade Facilitation Centre in Uri stumbled upon few packets suspected to be Brown Sugar in a box of oranges in one of the vehicles.

During detailed checks of other boxes, the officials found four to five packets of about 10 grams each in every box of oranges.

All the 22 vehicles which came from PoK on Friday are still at Salamabad trade facilitation centre in Uri while the 49 trucks from Indian side are held up in Chakoti on other side of the LoC.

A meeting of trade officials from the two sides on Friday evening following the recovery of the contraband substance failed to end the deadlock. The two sides are likely to meet again today for ending the impasse.

In January 2015, the authorities had siezed drugs worth nearly Rs 100 crore from a truck coming from PoK, which led to brief suspension of cross-Line of Control trade after police arrested the Pakistani driver of the vehicle. The PoK officials did not allow the Indian trucks and the drivers to return till the accused PoK driver was enlarged on bail by a local court and returned home.

In August 2013, police recovered cocaine worth Rs 10 crore from a truck, plying on Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route, at Sheeri in Uri sector. The LoC traders association has demanded that the issue of import of drugs be investigated by the National Investigation Agency or CBI.

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