Karvan-e-Aman bus leaves to cross over to PoK

 

SRINAGAR:  Despite tense situation on the Line of Control (LoC) due to unprovoked shelling by Pakistani troops almost daily in Jammu region, the Karvan-e-Aman bus, operating between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), left for Kaman post, the last Indian military post on this side of the border.

     Record number of 50 guests arrived here from PoK in the bus last week after it could not operate on June 26, owing to Eid.

   The bus left here at 0700 hrs this morning for Kaman post, the last Indian military post on this side of the LoC at Uri sector in north Kashmir district of Baramulla.

     The bus has since reached the Trade Facilitation Centre (TFC), Uri, they said, adding the exact number of passengers travelling to PoK will be known later in the afternoon.

     Similarly, those travelling from PoK will also be known after the bus arrives at Kaman Post, they said. The bus service, a major Confidence Building Measure (CBM) between India and Pakistan after 1999 Kargil War, continued despite unrest in Kashmir in 2016 and tension on the LoC, due to ceasefire violation and subsequent surgical strike by Indian troops in the PoK.

       The cross-LoC bus service, started on April 7, 2005 despite opposition by militant organisations, has helped thousands of families, divided in 1947 due to partition, to meet each other after India and Pakistan agreed to allow travel of state subjects from both sides on travel permits, instead of international passport.

      Barring chairman of hardline Hurriyat Conference (HC) Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) chief Shabir Ahmad Shah, almost all separatists leaders have travelled to PoK in the bus.

     However, the travel permit is issued to the state subject from both sides of the LoC, only after their names are cleared by the intelligence agencies from India and Pakistan.  However, only state subjects from both sides can avail the cross-LoC facility.

 (AGENCIES)

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