Srinagar: India and Pakistan on Thursday failed to break the two-week-old deadlock over the cross-LoC trade but agreed to resume Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service from Monday.

Trade Facilitation Officers (TFOs) of the two countries met at Kaman Post, about 70km from Srinagar, along the Line of Control (LoC), in a bid to resolve the stand-off arising after the arrest of a Pakistani truck driver for smuggling narcotics worth 100 crore across the LoC into the Kashmir Valley.

“A meeting took place at Kaman Post along the Line of Control (LoC) in north Kashmir between officials from this side and Pakistan occupied Kashmir which agreed to resume the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service from Monday," a senior government official said. He, however, said the meeting failed to end the deadlock over the trade activities.

PoK authorities had suspended both trade and travel on Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route on 17 January after the arrest of the Pakistani driver whose release they have been demanding. They have also held back 27 Indian truck drivers along with their vehicles pending the release.

India has rejected the Pakistani demand and expressed surprise over it saying Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) were being held hostage for the sake of those involved in massive drug trafficking.

TFOs had also met three days ago when Pakistani side had asked for the FIR copy and the forensic report which had authenticated that the seized contraband was brown sugar. But, the Indian officials informed their PoK counterpart that the evidence cannot be handed over to them as the Centre wanted Pakistan to seek the same through its high commission.

Over 110 packets of brown sugar were recovered from a Pakistani vehicle at Salamabad Trade facilitation centre earlier this month. The driver of the vehicle was arrested.

The PoK officials refused to take back other 48 drivers and vehicles from that side and also detained the 27 Indian drivers and their vehicles, demanding the release of the arrested driver.

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