India Opens Land Route For PoK Families
12 October 2005
The Indian Express
Srinagar: As a goodwill gesture, centre on Wednesday allowed nearly 40 people, who came from Pakistan occupied Kashmir capital of Muzzafarabad by bus to return home taking the land route via Wagah border in Punjab without visas.The people had come here by the Karavan-E-Aman bus barely two days before the killer earthquake struck the regioin claiming thousands of lives. Worried about the fate of their kin back home, 27 persons, including women and children from five families, left this morning in a special bus for Jammu enroute Wagah Border, official sources said adding that 13 more persons from PoK would join them in Jammu. The step has been taken in view of indefinite postponement of the Srinagar-Muzzaffarabad bus service due to blockade of the road at many places, they said. Landslides triggered as a result of massive earthquake on Saturday have blocked a nine-km road stretch between Jula to Kaman Post, the last point on the Indian side. The gesture comes close on the heels of the statement of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday that humanitarian considerations should take precedence. The officials here said the Indian passengers, who had gone to Muzaffarabad from Jammu and Kashmir on October six, would also be allowed to come through Wagha border by a special bus.