Colossal increase seen in cross-border travel between Indo-Pak

Colossal increase seen in cross-border travel between Indo-Pak

Submitted by alvin on Wed, 2016-06-08 20:32 Poonch (Jammu and Kashmir): Jammu and Kashmir officials have stated that the cross-border travel between India and Pakistan has increased manifold over the years, with a colossal increase in statistics since 2005, when the Poonch-Rawalkot bus service was first launched between India and Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). According to officials, as many as 16, 612 people utilised the bus service to meet their dear ones on either side of the border since 2005. While 11,879 Pakistani nationals travelled to Kashmir during all these years, only 4,733 Indians were allowed in PoK. Custodian/ Trade Facilitation Officer, Tanveer Ahmed said, "Earlier people did not visit each other but now relations are growing stronger in India and PoK (Pakistan occupied Kashmir) route. People are freely crossing the border and people from that side who come here are very happy on seeing this country." "There is more trust with the CB (cross border) service and confidence is also growing. So, now people are freely coming. Earlier, only two to three people used to come, but now families are coming together," he added. On Tuesday, teary-eyed Pakistani nationals bid farewell to their family members in Poonch district as they boarded the bus to their homeland. The cross-border bus service which was started as a friendly gesture between the two countries often has to face suspension due to the cross- border fire and dispute between the rivals. In January last year, the bus service was suspended for an indefinite period owing to the tension between the two neighbours along the border, following New Delhi's tough stand on the issue of two Indian soldiers' beheading by Pakistani troops. As a result to this the passengers were left stranded on both sides for nearly two weeks until the bus service resumed on January 28, 2013. Pakistani nationals expressed their delight on getting to meet their family members in India. "More and more people are coming here. We are feeling happy. More and more people are going to Pakistan. Be it a happy or sad occasion, people should visit for around a week or 10 days," said a Pakistani national, Shezad Khan. Earlier, a similar bus service was initiated between Lahore and Delhi on March 16, 1999. Then Indian prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, went to Lahore in the inaugural run of the bus and was received by his counterpart Nawaz Sharif. (ANI)