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Karveen-e-Aman weekly bus service resumes, cross LoC trade from tomorrow

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Kashmir, Aug 07 : The Karwan-e-Aman bus service, operating between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad of Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) resumed today after remaining suspended last week.

The Cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade is likely to resume from tomorrow after remaining suspended since July 21, when over 60 kg of drugs were recovered from a PaK truck at Trade Facilitation Centre (TFC) in Uri.

Though some leaders of BJP, a coalition partner in the coalition government with PDP demanded suspension of the trade, the chief minister Mehbooba Mufti has said that she will not allow trade between the two parts to be derail and pitched for opening more trade routes between Jammu and Kashmir and PoK.

The weekly bus was suspended on July 31st between the two sides after a message was received from Pakistan that there is a holiday in PoK on account of 14th death anniversary of founding president of PoK Sardar Mohammad Ibrahim Khan.

However, the peace bus left here this morning for Kaman post, the last Indian military post on this side of the LoC in Uri sector, official sources said.
All the passengers who were scheduled to travel last week have been accommodated in the bus today, he said.

Sources said the POK residents who could not travel in Poonch-Rawlakote bus after the service remained suspended for about four week also boarded the bus here to travel return to their houses. The exact number of travellers will be known later in the day, he said.

Similarly the number of PoK resident travelling from Muzaffarabad to here will be known later in the day.

The bus service, a major Confidence Building Measure (CBM) between India and Pakistan after 1999 Kargil War, continued despite unrest in Kashmir in 2016 and tension on the LoC, due to ceasefire violation and subsequent surgical strike by Indian troops in the PoK.

The cross-LoC bus service started on April 7, 2005 despite opposition by militant organisations has helped thousands of families, divided in 1947 due to partition, to meet each other after India and Pakistan agreed to allow travel of state subjects from both sides on travel permits, instead of international passport.

The travel permit is issued to the state subject from both sides of the LoC, only after their names are cleared by the intelligence agencies from India and Pakistan.

However, only state subjects from both sides can avail the cross-LoC bus facility.

The spokesperson said that the PaK delegation was also briefed about the investigation being carried by police in the narcotics case.

“They (PaK officials) assured that they would improve the mechanism of checking/scanning at Trade Centre Chakhoti so that such incidents are prevented in future”, he said.

Meanwhile, the NIA had grilled a number of separatist leaders, including Nayeem Ahmad Khan, chief of National Front (NF), who had admitted during a sting-operation by a national news channel that they (separatists) were receiving funds from PaK and Pakistan for financing militancy and stone pelting.

The NIA has also arrested spokespersons of both the factions of Hurriyat Conference (HC) and other separatists besides businessmen, in connection with terror funding.

During the course of investigation, the NIA has reportedly found some companies doing business through cross-LoC trade transferring funds to militancy purpose in the J&K.

About 300 companies and traders are engaged in cross-LoC trade since 2008 after India and Pakistan agreed to resume the trading activities since 1947.

The agency suspects that several crores of rupees were handed over to Over Ground Workers (OGWs) of militant groups and separatists to allegedly fuel the massive protests and violence in the Valley following the killing of the Burhan Wani of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) in July 2016.

In March this year, security forces and police intercepted a truck coming from PoK and recovered arms and ammunition. The driver of the truck Irshad Ahmad Mantoo, a resident of south Kashmir Kulgam, was arrested after the arms consignment was recovered from his truck at Sheeri in Baramulla.

He had received the consignment from a militant operative in PoK and had hidden it in a cavity in his truck that was bringing in merchandise from across the border.

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