Trade across the Line of Control — between Salamabad in Uri and Chikoti in Muzaffarabad — remained suspended on Saturday following the arrest of a Pakistani truck driver after seizure of drugs from his vehicle.
Police said the vehicle carrying oranges had come from PoK on Friday morning. Customs and J&K Police personnel at the Salamabad Trade Facilitation Centre in Uri recovered 305 packets of drugs from the truck during a routine check on Friday evening. Following this, the driver and two of his local contacts, for whom the consignment was meant, were arrested.
After the arrest of the driver, officials at the Trade Facilitation Centre in Uri said, Pakistan stopped 50 Indian drivers to return to Kashmir. These Indians had crossed the LoC carrying consignment on Friday morning.
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Officials identified the arrested Pakistani driver as Syed Anayat Shah, a resident of Muzaffarabad. Local trader Javid Ahmad Malla, who was to receive the consignment, was a former notorious stone pelter of Baramulla in north Kashmir, police said.
DIG, Baramulla, Gareeb Das said that police have registered a case and confirmed the arrest of the Pakistani driver. “The packets, each weighing 10-15 gm, contained narcotic substance. They were carefully kept in the orange boxes inside the truck,” he said.
He said the local trader had been in jail earlier in different cases, adding that it could be a big drug racket.
Custodian of Trade Facilitation Centre Showkat Ahmad said that Pakistan has closed the Kaman bridge. “After the arrest of the Pakistani driver, the officials there are not allowing our 50 drivers to return to Kashmir,” he said, adding that Pakistani officials are demanding release of the driver. He said 21 Pakistani drivers are currently at Salamabad Crossing Centre. “We are in talks with our Pakistani counterparts to resume the crossing of vehicles.”