In yet another setback to cross-LoC travel, Pakistan on Friday decided to suspend 'Paigam-e-Aman' bus service between Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Jammu and Kashmir. There would be no bus service on Monday.
"Pakistan has suspended the cross-LoC bus service between Chakan-Da-Bagh (J and K) and Rawalakote (PoK) for the time being," Trade Facilitation Officer (TFO), Poonch, Abdul Hamid Sheikh said here, while adding, "There would be no cross-LoC bus service on Monday," the TFO said, adding, "No time frame was conveyed to us for re-starting the cross-LoC trade and bus service."
Sheikh said he contacted director general, Trade and Travel (PoK) for clarifying the situation on LoC trade and travel and he conveyed that there was firing going on and in this situation, no travel can be carried out till further orders. Pakistan Army had on Thursday refused to open the gates for allowing cross-LoC trade in Chakan-Da-Bagh crossing point in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir. 25 J and K trucks carrying goods mostly vegetables for traders in PoK were stranded at the checkpoint.
Officials said a total of 65 trucks were stuck for passage to PoK from Chakan-Da-Bagh crossing point since Thursday. Most of these trucks are carrying perishable goods, particularly vegetables. The Poonch-Rawalakote 'Carvan-e-Aman' bus service was suspended on June 11, last year and resumed on July 17 after a Brigade commander-level meeting between Pakistan and Indian armies.
LoC trade had also come to a halt due to the closure of gates at Chakan-da-Bagh border point in Poonch on June 14, last year following Indo-Pak tension in the wake of heavy firing along the LoC in which two Indian soldiers were killed and four others were injured in incidents of ceasefire violations by Pakistan.
Truck and bus services were started to facilitate easy trade and travel between J and K and PoK as part of confidence building exercise between the two neighbours.
As many as 71 incidents of border firing have taken place along the LoC and International Border (IB) in 2012. Seven persons, including 4 security personnel, 2 civilians and one Pakistani intruder were killed in the incidents. Officials said 15 persons, including 12 security force personnel and 3 civilians, were also injured in the incidents.
There were 51 cases of cross-border firing and ceasefire violations in 2011 as compared to 44 cases along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir in 2010 and 28 in 2009. Also, Indian Army had detected a 500-metre-long tunnel in Jammu and Kashmir's Samba sector on July 28, last year and had subsequently lodged a strong protest with Pakistan on the issue.