29 PoK guests arrive; 14 Kashmiris cross over to other side of LoC

Srinagar, Jun 5: Despite tense situation on the Line of Control (LoC), as many as 29 guests from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) arrived here while 14 Kashmiris crossed over to other side in the weekly Karvan-e-Aman bus, operating between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad.
Meanwhile, 63 people also returned to their respective sides this evening at the Kaman Post in Uri sector, official sources here said.
The bus had to return back from Kaman Post last week without crossing to other side because of no response from Pakistan Army following killing of four foreign infiltrators and three soldiers in the encounter in Naugam sector in Kupwara on May 21 while six militants were gunned down in Uri on May 27.
Passengers who were to travel PoK last week were adjusted in today’s bus, they said, adding this was the third time the “Aman Bus” was suspended last month.
They said 29 PoK residents, including 15 women and three children, arrived at Kaman Post after crossing the Aman Setu, peace bridge, on foot to meet their relatives, separated in 1947.
They said 18 Kashmiris, who had gone to the PoK, also returned to their homes after completing their stay cross the LoC. They included six women and two children.
As many as 14 Kashmiris, including four women and a child, crossed over to the other side of LoC to meet their relatives. Meanwhile, 45 PoK residents, including 17 women and 5 children, returned to their homes.
The bus could not operate on May 8 for security reasons as the Army had launched a search operation at village Adoora in Uri sector after a firing incident.
It also could not operate on May 1 following a communication from POK authorities regarding suspension of service on account of International Workers’ Day.
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.
However, 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 could avail the cross-LoC facility.