Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said the Indian drivers had been ‘stopped’ and not arrested in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir since the trade row erupted over the detention of a Pakistani driver on charges of smuggling narcotics.

"Our authorities and Indian authorities are in contact and we are trying to resolve the matter. The Kashmiri drivers have not been arrested but stopped on this side. Forty-nine trucks from (PoK) have been detained on the other side," Aslam told a weekly news briefing.

"We are very keen that trade between Pakistan and India and intra-Kashmir trade takes place smoothly,” Aslam added.

The Foreign Ministry had summoned an Indian Counselor just before the Pakistani Deputy High Commissioner was called to the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi on Tuesday, she said.

"It is essentially in the context of efforts to resolve the deadlock," she said.

Asked about reports in a section of the media here that a demarche was issued by the Pakistani side, Aslam said: "That was done day before yesterday. Yesterday, the Indian High Commissioner met the Foreign Secretary, and among other things, this was also discussed.”

"And both sides are of the view that we should resolve this issue at the earliest,” she added.

Responding to another question on whether it was a note verbale or a demarche, she said, "It depends on the issue. We did raise concern about the detention of a driver along with 48 others who were stopped on that side...That is a demarche."

Officials later clarified that contrary to media reports, the Indian Deputy High Commissioner was not summoned. Indian diplomatic sources said that a note verbale was issued.

They said discussions were on to break the deadlock. They also made it clear that the meeting between High Commissioner TCA Raghavan and Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry was a courtesy call.

Meanwhile, Aslam said Pakistan is yet to receive any dates for a visit by Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma.

Asked what issues are likely to be raised during his visit, she said, "Lot of issues related to commerce and trade and creating an environment in which trade can flow for both sides on equal footing will be under discussion."


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