Peace Bus Stranded, Road Ahead Bleak

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SRINAGAR – Chances of resumption of Karvan-e-Aman bus, operating between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad, the capital cities of divided parts of Kashmir, has further diminished as relations between India and Pakistan remained strained.

The weekly bus service and cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade were suspended on March 4, badly hitting the states subjects from both sides who were separated due to partition in 1947.

The service was resumed on April 7, 2005 after both India and Pakistan agreed to allow travel of divided families to meet each other on “Travel Permits” instead of International passports. However, the bus was suspended on March this year following a request by Pakistani side that some repair work of Kaman post bridge was to be undertaken. Later, the service could not be restored because of strained relations between the two countries due to continued ceasefire violation by Pak troops at LoC and International Border (IB).

The bus has helped thousands of divided families to meet each other since it was introduced despite opposition by militant organizations.

Trade between the two sides also remained suspended after order by Union Home Ministry that it was being used for terror funding. Over a dozen cross-LoC traders were questioned and some of them detained by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).  (Agencies)

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