More Civilians Cross Kashmir Line
21 November 2005
Srinagar: Nine more civilians have crossed over from Indian to Pakistani- administered Kashmir under a post-earthquake accord. It is the second such crossing since the 8 October disaster. Two of the group were stranded after travelling from Pakistani-controlled territory before the quake. The other seven were from the Indian side. India and Pakistan agreed last month to open five crossing points along the UN designated Line of Control that divides Kashmir between the two countries. The Indian authorities allowed the civilians to walk across the Line of Control (LoC) at around 1530 local time (1000GMT) at the Poonch-Rawalakot point. The five men and two women from the Indian side are travelling to Pakistani-administered Kashmir hoping to be reunited with their relatives.One of them, Javed Iqbal, said he had waited for this moment for the past 58 years. Sarwar Qapeel, a nephew of Pakistan-administered Kashmir's Prime Minister Sikandar Hayat, said he was trembling with excitement at the prospect of meeting his uncle after decades of separation. Civilians have yet to cross the LoC from Pakistani-controlled territory under the accord, and Indian officials said they were not expecting anyone from the other side to make the crossing on Monday. Goods have already been transported across the de facto border, but there have been repeated delays in granting permission for civilians to cross as the two sides had agreed. One group of civilians from the Indian side who had crossed before the earthquake were stranded there after the disaster. They finally returned to the Indian side last week. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has said both countries should seize the moment to resolve their long-running dispute over Kashmir.