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Indian peace bus arrives in Lahore
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January 24, 2006 20:03 IST

A bus carrying 39 Indian passengers arrived in the Pakistani city of Lahore [Images] from Amritsar [Images] on Tuesday after the two countries opened the first road link between the two sides of Punjab in an effort to enhance people-to-people contact.

Pakistan's Punjab province Tourism Minister Mian Aslam Iqbal, along with dozens of locals, welcomed the passengers at the Wagah border crossing.

Expressing his delight at the arrival of the Indian passengers, Iqbal said his country will do everything it could to make them comfortable.

This is the third road link between the two countries after the Delhi-Lahore and Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus services.

Earlier, Indian Punjab's Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal flagged off the bus from Amritsar.

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The service will be rediscovery of an emotional connection between the twin cities and is of great significance as thousands of families in both countries were separated during the 1947 partition.

The Indian bus, named Punj-Aab (after the five rivers) had conducted trail run on December 11 and Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation had undertaken its trial run from Lahore on December 13.

Prominent Indian officials, who traveled by the 45-seater luxury bus, which will return from Pakistan on Wednesday, include Punjab Transport Minister Mohinder Singh Kapyee, Punjab Excise and Taxation Minister Sardool Singh, Deputy Speaker of Punjab State Assembly Darbari Lal, Transport Secretary A K Talwar, Director Transport Narinderjit Singh and State Transport Commissioner Iqbal Singh Sidhu.

Also see:
Arvind Lavakare: The bus to nowhere
Kanchan Gupta: Goodbye, Kashmir!
Sushant Sareen: Bussing the peace process


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