Cross-LoC Bus Service Resumes

Cross-LoC Bus Service Resumes

3 February 2014
Kashmir Times
Syed Yasir and Anubhav Misri

Srinagar: After a gap of two weeks following the alleged recovery of a huge quantity of Brown Sugar from one of the truck driver from Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PAK), the weekly bus services both from Srinagar and Poonch resumed today. The ‘Karwan-e-Aman’ bus service between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad resumed today. However, the trade links was not restored and the standoff over the issue of releasing of truck driver still been issued at diplomatic level. Officials of trade facilitation centre Salamabad Uri told that Kashmir Times that the Karwan –e-Aman bus service was resumed today by the authorities of both the countries after they held successful talks few days back to resume the service. The officials said that around 24 passengers, who were virtually stranded here boarded the bus from Srinagar for their journey to Muzaffarabad in Pakistan Administered Kashmir. Similarly various passengers from Pakistan Administered Kashmir reached Srinagar through the Karwan-e-Aman bus service. However, the trade standoff between India and Pakistan continues, with truckers from both sides stranded since January 17. Reports said that Truckers Association in PAK has threatened to disrupt the bus service till all drivers return from that part of the state. The Karawan-e-Aman was suspended on January 20 when a PAK truck driver was arrested after 114 packets of brown sugar were recovered from his vehicle at Salamabad, Uri trade centre. Later, Pakistan closed the gate and refused to take back their drivers who remained stranded in Uri. The trade between the two sides is already suspended for the last 12 days. The 27 trucks along with their drivers from this part of the state are stranded in PAK. Similarly the 48 PAK drivers are also stranded in Salamabad in wake of a standoff between the two authorities. The three-day trade usually takes place from Tuesday to Friday. But the recent arrest of a Pakistani driver after the recovery of brown sugar from his truck led to the suspension of the trade and travel. The traders have also expressed serious concern over their goods and truck drivers stranded on LoC. Khan said that goods worth crores of rupees are laying at Salamabad and other side. They said that if the prevailing condition continued further more they will face huge financial losses as the most of the stranded items are perishable goods and they cannot be kept longer. The traders have also appealed the both New Delhi and Islamabad to resolve the crisis without making it a point of prestige. They said that LoC was a biggest CBM initiated by both the countries in 2008, after they had initiated bus service in April 2005. KTNS Poonch adds: The weekly Poonch-Rawlakot bus service, which was suspended for two weeks, resumed today. As per reports, one hundred sixty four people crossed the LoC in today’s weekly bus service from Chakkan-Da-Bagh in Poonch. These included forty nine over staying Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PAK) visitors whose permits were temporarily extended by the district administration in Poonch. They were relieved after the two week long standoff ended today. The headway has been made after Pakistan softened its stand on the release of the arrested truck driver. Official reports claimed that 69 PAK visitors including 49 overstaying returned to their native places while three Indian fresh visitors crossed over to the other side. 72 Indian visitors including those overstaying in PAK returned Poonch with twenty fresh PAK visitors. The border was opened twice today to facilitate the weekly crossing after a gap of two months.