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Poonch-Rawalkot bus service to begin from June 20
K J M Varma in Islamabad | June 16, 2006 17:44 IST
The much-awaited inaugural of the Poonch-Rawalkot bus service connecting the two sides of Kashmir on the Jammu front would be held on June 20, Indian and Pakistan officials said in Islamabad.
Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Tasnim Aslam said India has suggested to have the inaugural run a day later than the initial plan of June 19 and Pakistan has accepted it.
A senior Indian diplomat also said it has been agreed by both sides to begin the service from June 20.
After talks held in New Delhi on May 3, both sides had decided to start the bus service, which would be the second connecting the Kashmir regions, linking the Poonch sector of Jammu and Rawalkot in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
It was a long-standing demand from the locals of both sides of Kashmir as it drastically reduced the travel time to Jammu.
Passengers travelling from and to Jammu by the Srinagar-Muzafarabad bus service, which has been operational for over a year now, have complained that they had to travel too long a distance.
Like the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad service, Poonch-Rawalkot bus too would be run with a unique arrangement where passengers do not need to have passports and visas, but would travel with special permits issued after verification procedures from both sides.
India has also suggested a bus service between Kargil and northern areas, which is currently under the control of Pakistan.
Both sides are also poised to begin truck service from the middle of next month between Srinagar-Muzafarbad to promote intra-Kashmir trade.