Jammu: The cross-LoC bus service from Rawalakot to Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir resumed after 17 weeks today with 20 passengers from Pakistan occupied Kashmir crossing over, an official said.
The bus service, poetically titled Paigam-e-Aman (message of peace), was suspended on July 10 due to heavy firing and shelling from the Pakistani side. No bus had crossed the Line of Control (LoC) from Chakan Da Bagh in Poonch district since then.
“The suspended bus service resumed this morning and 20 people arrived from Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK),” Mohammad Tanveer, Custodian of the LoC trade (Poonch), told PTI. He added that “no passenger from this side travelled to the other side and the bus had to ply empty”.
Senior civil officials from Poonch and PaK held a meeting at the crossing point near the LoC on November 3 and reached a consensus to resume the suspended bus service and trade between the two sides.
The cross-LoC bus service was started along the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route in April 2005 and the Poonch- Rawalakot road in June 2006 to facilitate trade and travel between the divided families of Jammu and Kashmir and PaK.
The trade, which works on the barter system, between the two parts of Kashmir started in October 2008.
“With the resumption of bus service, the trade which takes place four days a week is also likely to start tomorrow, Tanveer said.
The chances of resumption of the service had brightened on August 24 when senior Army commanders of India and Pakistan held a flag meeting at Chakan Da Bagh and agreed to keep the channels of communication open between local commanders along the LoC.