Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah asserted at a news conference on Saturday that his government would not release the PoK driver allegedly held with a sizeable narcotic consignment on the cross-LoC trade route of Uri on January 17.

“I think the way Pakistan has handled this is very unfortunate. A crime is a crime. We have arrested the smuggler of drugs,” Mr. Abdullah said in reply to a question on Pakistan’s efforts to seek the release of the detained truck driver Mohammad Shafiq Awan. The cross-LoC bus or truck drivers had no diplomatic immunity and they required to be treated under the law of the land, he said.

Mr. Abdullah said it was all the more unfortunate that the Pakistani authorities had unilaterally suspended the cross-LoC trade and travel operations and held hostage 27 of the Kashmiri truck drivers at Chakothi in the PoK. He said that the matter had been raised with Pakistan at a diplomatic level and the Union Ministries of Commerce and External Affairs were handling it.

‘Karunanidhi, Farooq friends’

Mr. Abdullah described his father Farooq Abdullah’s meeting with the DMK chief Karunanidhi in Chennai as a matter of friendship between the two leaders. “It is a matter of personal relations and need not be politicised.” “We are very much with the UPA and we have no intention of parting ways with the UPA,” Mr. Abdullah said.

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