Karvan-e-Aman bus leaves for Muzaffarabad today

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Srinagar, Aug 28 (UNI) Despite indefinite curfew in Srinagar and other major towns of the Kashmir valley, the Karvan-e-Aman Bus Service between Srinagar-Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK), left this morning here with 60 passengers on board.

Tickets of the passengers were treated as curfew passes, official sources said.

The service was resumed on August 21 after it was suspended on August 14 in view of the unrest in the state due to Amarnath land row and Muzaffarabad chalo call given by separatists.

The number of those coming from POK was not immediately known.

Official sources said the buses with Muzaffarabad bound passengers left here from an undisclosed place this morning for Kaman post, the last Indian post on the Line of Control (LOC), under tight security arrangements.

The bus service between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir was inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on April 7, 2005.

But the service remained suspended for about a month after the Aman Setu (peace bridge), on river Jhelum connecting both the Kashmiris and major portion of the road on other side was damaged in devastating earthquake on October 8, 2005.

Through this bus service, thousands of people from both sides of the Line of Control (LOC) had so far visited their relatives, separated since 1947.

The passengers from Muzaffarabad had to cover a distance of 50 km to reach Chakoti, the last military post from the Pakistani side.

The bus service between the divided Kashmir was established after 58 years following agreement between India and Pakistan to allow families separated since 1947 to meet each other.

Now the people of the Kashmir valley are demanding the opening of the road, also known as Jehlum valley road, for trade and free movement.

However, a government spokesman said government of India had already submitted the proposal to Pakistan government and awaits response.

The 170-km Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road, also known as the Jhelum Valley road, was closed for traffic on October 27, 1947 when ''Kabailis (tribesmen)'' invaded parts of Jammu and Kashmir which came to be known as PoK.

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