Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service to start in March
30 November 2004
News Network International
Srinagar: The bus service between Srinagar and Muazaffarabad is unlikely to become a reality before March 2004. The news agency Rediff.com quoted, Mehbooba Mufti, MP and the president of the ruling People's Democratic Party as saying that the state government would need at least two to three months to put things in order before the service starts. 'We have already prepared a blueprint of the route that the bus is going to follow. But we will need at least two to three months to prepare the roads and set up other necessary infrastructure like cafeterias and rest houses. We will be ready in three months but I do not know what is the position on the other side,' she said. Indian and Pakistani official are scheduled to meet on December 7 and 8 in New Delhi to finalise details like whether those travelling by the bus will need travel documents and the costs. Solution 'near' on travel document issue Earlier, Indian External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh had said that India and Pakistan are 'very near' to solution on the question of travel documents to be carried by passengers on the proposed Srinagar- Muzzafarabad bus which is expected to be operationalised before spring. 'The bus service will start sooner than later. Both sides will be able to overcome all the technicalities,' he said in an interview to the CNBC television. The foreign minister said the visit of Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz to New Delhi went off very well. 'He (Mr Aziz) was very forthright, well informed and very articulate. He presented his views with great thrust. He had all the facts on his fingertips.' On whether the verbal exchanges between the two countries triggered by General Pervez Musharraf's seven region formula on Kashmir were over, Mr Singh said 'Mr Aziz had himself clarified that the Pakistani President's proposal was meant for debate within Pakistan.