LOC standoff: Families of held up drivers protest, seek their immediate release

LOC standoff: Families of held up drivers protest, seek their immediate release

Srinagar: The family members of the truck drivers, who are held up in Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) for nearly three weeks amid Indo-Pak standoff over LoC trade, Wednesday staged protest demonstrations in demand for their immediate release.

Reports reaching GNS said that the family members joined by members of Truck Drivers Union, Baramulla, staged demonstrations at the Khanpora Bridge on Srinagar-Muzarfarabad road and demanded the immediate release of the detained truck drivers. The protesters blocked the highway, causing disruption in traffic.

“Why are our family members (drivers) detained in PaK when they are innocent? What is their fault? If some person has committed any offence, why to punish innocents,” one of protesters said.

The protestors also lashed out at authorities for not taking the issue “seriously”. They said the government was doing little to secure the release of the detained truck drivers.

Hajra, one of the protesters, said that their entire family was facing immense difficulties as her husband, detained in Pak, is the lone bread earner.

Naseema, whose son is among Kashmiri drivers held up in PaK, said that she had undergone a surgery recently and is suffering immensely.

“Instead of staying back at home, I am here to protest in demand for seeking release of my son who has done nothing wrong. There is no one to look after me. I have no money to get medicine as he is lone bread earner.”

“We are deeply worried over their safety. The government must take concrete steps and end the sufferings of the families of the detained truck drivers,” a leader of Truck Drivers Union, Baramulla told GNS.

He said that the truck drivers have been left to fend for themselves as nobody talks about them.

“Their continuous detention is causing huge hardships for their families back home as they are not the owners of the vehicles but are hired by the owners,” he added.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Baramulla, Ghulam Ahmad Khawaja along with other senior officers of administration and police department reached the spot and pacified the protesters with an assurance that issue will be soon resolved.

“We assured them that within next few days, matter will be resolved as we are continuously in touch with ministry of Home Affairs,” the DC told GNS.

The trouble started on January 17, when police arrested a Pakistani driver after allegedly recovering huge quantity of “brown sugar” from his lorry at the Salamabad trade centre here in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.

As per Police, 114 packets of brown sugar worth rupees 100 crore were recovered from the driver Mohammad Shafiq, son of Abdul Aziz Sarar of Muzafferabad. The arrest of PaK driver has snowballed into a major controversy with the two rival countries suspending trade and travel. (GNS)

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