Mutual Flexibility Enabled To Start Bus Service Between Muzaffarabad And Srinagar
9 March 2005
Associated Press of Pakistan
New Delhi: Observing that mutual flexibility enabled the two sides to start Muzaffarabad-Srinagar (IHK) bus service, India on Wednesday said the procedure followed for starting the bus service is without prejudice to its position on the issue of Kashmir. 'The display of mutual flexibility has enabled the two sides to take a significant step in responding to humanitarian considerations, particularly the opportunity for divided families to meet each other with relative ease and convenience,' Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed said in a suo motu statement in Lok Sabha. He said 'the procedure adopted is without prejudice to our stated position on the issue of J and K.' The minister claimed that all Indian and Pakistani nationals would be permitted to use this route across the Line of Control (LoC). He said India and Pakistan had also reached an agreement on starting a bus service between Lahore and Amritsar, including to religious places such as Nankana Sahib. Pakistan has also agreed to work towards the early restoration of the Khokrapar- Munnabao rail link. In his statement on developments in Nepal and recent visits of External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ahamed said India has agreed to look at a pipeline through Pakistan subject to satisfaction of its concerns related to security and assured supplies. This would also contribute to widening of economic inter-linkages, he added. The Minister said the ceasefire has held for more than a year and that the bilateral process has been given impetus through maintenance of high-level contacts. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had met President Pervez Musharraf in New York in September last and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz had met Singh during his visit here in November last as SAARC Chairman, he said.