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India proposes meeting to resolve trade row

Islamabad: India has proposed a meeting of the working group on Kashmir to look into a controversy started by alleged seizure of narcotics from a Pakistani truck.

“India has proposed to Pakistan to hold a meeting of the official-level Joint Working Group on Trans-LoC CBMs in the second week of February,” Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said in a twitter posting on Tuesday.

Pakistan and India have established a mechanism under which officials from both sides meet to discuss conventional CBMs including the ceasefire along the LoC and trade and travel across the LoC.

The group did not meet last year because of tensions in the aftermath of the ceasefire violations that led to suspension of peace talks.

The proposed meeting will not mark resumption of dialogue as India wants it to be incident specific discussing the alleged seizure of narcotics and subsequent events.

Replying to a question from Dawn about the meeting, Mr Akbaruddin said it is being held to “resolve issues which may have arisen in the interpretation of the Standard Operating Procedures on Trans LoC trade”.

Trade and travel between the two parts of Kashmir has been suspended since Indian police impounded a Pakistani truck in occupied Kashmir and allegedly found $2 million narcotics in the vehicle.

Following detention of the Pakistani truck in Indian-held Kashmir, officials in Azad Kashmir stopped Indian trucks from returning to press for their demand for release of the Pakistani truck and its driver.

Meetings of officials looking after the cross-LoC trade have failed to resolve the matter.

 

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