JAMMU, Aug 19: Twenty seven guests from Pak occupied Kashmir (PoK) remained stranded at Chakkan-da-Bagh cross LoC point in district Poonch today as the Pakistani authorities did not open the gates for the operation of weekly bus service between Poonch and Rawlakote (PoK).
Official sources said that six residents of Rajouri and Poonch, who had gone to meet their relatives in PoK, were also scheduled to arrive at Poonch today in the Rawlakote bus but could not reach due to non-cooperation on the part of Pakistani authorities.
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Sources further revealed that since 9 am today, the PoK guests whose permit was expiring today, started reaching the venue at Poonch. After completion of all the formalities by the TFO and security agencies, they were made to board Rawlakote bound bus. The bus left Poonch at around 11 am for Chakkan-da-Bagh LoC point.
The passengers kept waiting at LoC point for about four hours but there was no response from the Pakistani authorities. They did not open the gate. The Deputy Commissioner, Poonch tried to establish contact with the authorities on the other side through hot- line but there was no proper response. It was learnt that there was no plan to run the bus from the other side. The J&K residents who had to reach back here, were made to go back by the authorities on that side.
Deputy Commissioner, Poonch Rahul Yadav said that a total of 42 PoK guests have come from that side in Rajouri and Poonch districts to meet their relatives here. Out of them, 27 were due for their return to PoK as their permit was expiring today. Six Indians were also scheduled to arrive back today in the same bus. But there was no response from the Pakistan side. They did not open the gates and the bus returned to Poonch at around 3 pm. The matter has been taken up with the higher authorities in Delhi, he said.
It is pertinent to mention here that the bus service between Poonch and Rawlakote was started in 2006 to facilitate travel between the two parts of divided Jammu and Kashmir. The trade and travel remained suspended many times. After scrapping of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, the Pakistan suspended operation of Samjhauta Express via Wagah border in Punjab and also suspended bus service in Jammu and Kashmir.