Poonch (J-K), May 7 : The Poonch-Rawalakot bus service has brought joy to the people on either side of Kashmir.
A total of 74 passengers from both sides of Kashmir crossed the Line of Control (LOC) at Chakan-Da-Bagh in Poonch District on Wednesday. Of these, 36 were Indian citizens who returned after visting their relatives in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), while 38 PoK residents bid adieu after meeting their kith and kin living in Poonch.
The passengers said the opening of this second bus route between Poonch in Kashmir and Rawalakot in PoK would benefit various divided families.
They, however, lamented that their forefathers could not witness the reunion for which they longed for in their lifetime.
"The distance from Chakan-da-bagh to Poonch is just six kilometers. To cover these six kilometers, we had to wait for 60 years. We stayed away from our relatives for so long. Our forefathers and grandfathers departed from the world with dreams and aspirations of meeting their long lost relatives. They went to their graves, without fulfilling their desires," said Rehmat Ali, a resident of PoK.
Passengers returning to PoK also lauded the Government and the people in Kashmir for their hospitality.
"We have received unconditional love from the Indian Government, which was beyond our expectations. We just hope that the Almighty lay the path of our meeting again. May there be peace here. And I wish to tell all my brothers living there about the prosperous and healthy life that you all are leading here. The amount of love and affection we have got here is beyond our imagination," said Mohammad Yusuf, who came from Rawalpindi to visit his relatives in Poonch.
The Poonch-Rawalakot bus, which was flagged off in 2006, covers a distance of 55 km. It is the second inter-Kashmir service after the Srinagar - Muzaffarabad bus service.
People who travel don't need passports or visas, but do need special travel permits issued after completion of verification procedures from both sides.