Pakistan hopes to resolve dispute over cross-border business with India

Is;amabd, Jan 24, IRNA – Pakistan has said that the issue with India over suspension of cross-border trade truck and passenger bus service in the disputed Kashmir region will be resolved soon.

The services were suspended this week after Pakistan reportedly detained some drivers of the Indian trucks in retaliation to the arrest of one Pakistani driver by the Indian authorities.

Reports suggest Indian authorities last Friday seizing 100 kg of brown sugar from one of the 49 Pakistani trucks entering into its part of Kashmir.

Pakistan also had Saturday seized 27 Indian trucks, detained their drivers, and even stopped cross-border bus services.

On Tuesday, Pakistan’s Deputy High Commissioner was summoned and was handed over a demarche on the suspension of Muzzafarabad- Sri Nagar and Poonch-Rawalakot bus service.

Pakistani Foreign Ministry Tasnim Aslam said the Pakistani and Indian authorities are in contact and both are trying to resolve this matter, adding the drivers from Indian-controlled Kashmir have not been arrested.

She told weekly press briefing the Indian truck drivers have not only been stopped on the Pakistani side.

A total of 49 Trucks from Pakistan-administered Kashmir have been detained on the other side, she added.

“We are very keen that trade between Pakistan and India and intra Kashmir trade across LoC takes place smoothly,” she said.

She said Pakistan has also summoned the Indian counselor to the Ministry just before Pakistani Deputy High Commissioner was called into their Ministry of External Affairs essentially in an effort to resolve the deadlock.

Asked if a demarche was handed over to any official of the Indian High Commission, she said a demarche was handed over to the Indian official on Tuesday and on Wednesday the Indian High Commissioner met the Foreign Secretary and among other things, the issue of cross-border-trade was also discussed.

“We did raise concerns about the detention of a driver along with whom 48 others were also stopped on the other side. We did raise our concerns, “ she said.

Tasnim Aslam said both sides are of the view that they should resolve this issue at the earliest.

Asked if the issue buying of electricity from India will come under discussion when the Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma visits Pakistan, the spokesperson said no dates have yet been decided of the visit by the Indian Commerce Minister.

“A number of issues relating to commerce, trade and creating an environment in which trade can flow from both sides on equal footings will be under discussion.”