‘Peace bus’ service resumes, 128 civilians exchange sides in Poonch

JAMMU :  As many as 128 civilians today exchanged sides as the Poonch-Rawlakote ‘Peace Bus’ service resumed after a week’s time along the Line of Control at Chakkan-da-Bagh in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir.    “The issue of the ‘Peace Bus’ service was resolved after talks with our Pakistani counterparts and the gate at Chakkan-da-Bagh was opened in the afternoon at around 1505 hrs,” an official told.

He said 128 civilians exchanged sides. From this side of the border, three fresh Indian citizens went across while 72 residents of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir returned back to their native places after completing their stipulated stay here.

“From across the line, 33 Indian citizens returned back and 20 fresh PoK residents reached here to meet their relatives,” said an official.

Pakistan authorities on January 27 had denied entry to the weekly peace bus from India in view of continuing deadlock over the cross-LoC trade.

The reaction came in the backdrop of seizure of 114 packets of brown sugar from a truck coming from PoK side on January 17 at the Salamabad trade facilitation centre in Baramulla district of Kashmir.

The truck driver and a local trader who was to receive the narcotics were arrested.

Pakistan has been demanding the release of the arrested driver before allowing Kashmiri drivers to leave. The Pakistani authorities are also demanding seized truck and brown sugar to prosecute the driver in the PoK.