Poonch-Rawalakot bus services completes 2-month suspension

Jammu—The weekly cross-LoC bus service along the Poonch-Rawalkot road has completed two months of suspension as India and Pakistan failed to reach a consensus for resumption of the service aimed at facilitating meeting of the divided families, officials said.

The bus service was suspended on July 10 in the aftermath of the intense shelling by Pakistani troops and has failed to resume in view of the frequent ceasefire violations from across the Line of Control (LoC).

"The cross-LoC bus, named as 'Paigam-e-Amun' (message of peace), was scheduled to ply today as per its weekly calender but was again suspended owing to lack of communication between the two sides," officials said.

They said there was also no chance of resumption of trade, which has also remained suspended since July 11, along the route from tomorrow.

The chance of resumption of the bus service brightened on August 28 after civilian authorities from both sides decided to meet at Chakan-da-bagh trade facilitation centre along the LoC in Poonch district before resuming the service.

The meeting, however, failed to take place as officials from across the border did not turn up for the meeting apparently due to fresh skirmishes along the LoC.

The meeting of civilian officials was finalised days after senior commanders of India and Pakistan held a flag meeting at the crossing point and agreed to keep the channels of communication open between local commanders along the LoC.

The meeting on August 24 failed to restore peace along the LoC as skirmishes between the two sides continued unabated, claiming a number of lives.

The Battalion Commander-level officers from both sides held a 50-minute meeting against the backdrop of numerous ceasefire violations and agreed to institute mechanisms for durable peace and tranquillity on the border.

"The Indian side highlighted abatement and support of the Pakistan Army to cross-border terrorism, sniping actions on the LoC and deliberate targeting of civil population during ceasefire violations," a defence ministry spokesman had said.

He said that both sides mutually agreed to the importance of exercising restraint along the LoC and keeping the channels of communication open between local commanders.

This year has seen a sharp increase in ceasefire violations by Pakistan.


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