Saturday, January 1, 2011


Srinagar, Dec 31 (Only Kashmir) : Against 553 guests from Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK), only 222 Kashmiris could cross over to other side of the Line of Control (LoC) in 2010.
This was mainly because of the delay by the Pakistan government in clearing the names of residents of this side.
The Karvan-e-Aman bus service between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad, capital of PoK, was started to help the families divided in 1947 to meet each other.
However, both the Indian and Pakistan governments had agreed to allow the travel of residents of PoK and Kashmir on permits instead of International permit.
Both the governments had also agreed that no person would be allowed to travel without clearance from both the sides.
Official sources said if a person applies for a permit in Kashmir, his or her documents would be forwarded to Pakistan for clearance. Similarly PoK residents had to get clearance from this side before undertaking journey to Kashmir, they said.
The Pakistan and Indian governments agreed that only residents of PoK and Jammu and Kashmir could visit through this route.
However, it took months to receive clearance or rejection from the Pakistan government, they said adding in some cases there was no reply.
The fortnight service was started when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh flagged off the first bus from here on April 7, 2005 in presence of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, the then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed despite threats by militant organisation, who were opposing it.
A day before the first bus travelled to PoK, militants carried out fidayeen attack on Tourist Reception Centre (TRC), where the passengers of first bus were put up.
However, it was made weekly from October 2008 when the Centre allowed trade between the two parts.


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