ISLAMABAD: Notwithstanding India’s objection, Pakistan and China have launched a luxury bus service through PaK from Lahore to Kashgar city in China’s Xinjiang province, a media report said Tuesday.
The bus service started on Monday night and is part of an initiative to connect the two countries via road under the USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) and Shuja Express launched the bus service from Lahore and will take it 36 hours to reach the Chinese province of Xinjiang.
The Lahore-Kashgar bus will run four days – Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday – a week from Lahore and will be available from Kashgar on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, Radio Pakistan reported.
The bus will have five stopovers before crossing into China at Khunjerab and will require a valid visa and ID card, the report said.
The one-way fare is Rs 13,000, while a round trip will cost Rs 23,000.
Earlier, India lodged strong protests with China and Pakistan over the proposed bus service between the two countries through Pakistan-administered Kashmir (PaK).
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang defended the bus service, saying its cooperation with Islamabad has nothing to do with the territorial dispute and will not change its principled stance on the Kashmir issue.
Pakistan rejected protests by India against the bus service to China.
“We reject the Indian Ministry of External Affairs’ (MEA) purported protest and statement regarding bus service through China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC),” Pakistan’s Foreign Office said.
The CPEC, launched in 2015, is a planned network of roads, railways and energy projects linking China’s resource-rich Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region with Pakistan’s strategic Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea.