Cross-LoC travel resumes in Poonch

Halt In Bus Service Was Blessing In Disguise For Some Passengers


Poonch, Jan 28: Amid an emotionally charged atmosphere, 138 people Monday exchanged sides as the cross-LoC bus service between divided parts of J&K resumed at Chakan-da-Bagh, Poonch, after a fortnight-long suspension due to Indo-Pak skirmishes.
As many as 79 visitors from PAK left Poonch for Rawlakote this afternoon in the weekly bus service while 44 residents of Jammu and Kashmir returned from the other side of LoC. Besides, 15 new PAK citizens came to this part of J&K.
“As of now, there is no indication as to when fresh passengers will start coming from either of the two sides of the LoC,” an official said here, adding, “We are clearing the backlog first.”
The cross-LoC travel takes place every Monday.
There were 109 people from across the LoC in Poonch and Rajouri districts when the trouble broke out between India and Pakistan on January 8.
Large number of people had assembled at Sports Stadium Poonch, from where the bus takes off, to bid adieu to their relatives.
Muhammad Rashid son of Ilahi Baksh, a resident of Mirpur, said, “I thank the governments of both the nations for starting this LoC bus service again. We want peace to prevail so that we are in a position to come here and meet our loving ones.”
Abdul Rehman, a leading businessman from Mirpur, said, “We had completed our stay but the suspension of bus service prolonged our stay. It was a blessing in disguise.”
The gates at Chakan-da-Bagh were opened at 3:15 pm and closed at 4:00 pm.
The travel to unite divided families of J&K was one of the confidence building measures (CBMs) that began in 2005 from Salamabad to Chakoti in Kashmir valley and Chakan-da-Bagh to Rawalakot in Poonch in Jammu region.
India-Pakistan relations took a hit after New Delhi accused Pakistani troops of brutally killing two Indian soldiers along the LoC on Jan 8 and beheading one of them.
Pakistan accused India of killing two Pakistani soldiers on two separate days. In retaliation to the beheading, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared that there couldn’t be business as usual with Pakistan.

Cross-LoC trade at Poonch is also set to resume from Tuesday. Goods worth Rs 2 crore are traded every day with about 25 trucks crossing over.
The trade was halted Jan 11 when Indian officials said Pakistan did not open gates for the trucks at Chakan-da-Bagh.
This was the second time in past 8 months that LoC travel and trade had come to a grinding halt after Pakistani Army refused to open the gates.
LoC trade had earlier come to a halt on June 14 last year due to closure of gates of Chakan-Da-Bagh border point in Poonch following LoC firing, shelling and ceasefire violations. It was resumed later on July 14.

Lastupdate on : Mon, 28 Jan 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 28 Jan 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 29 Jan 2013 00:00:00 IST

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