Only 11 To Board 2nd Kashmir Bus From Muzaffarab
20 April 2005
Muzaffarabad: Only 11 people are to board the second intra-Kashmir bus from Muzaffarabad on Thursday, two weeks after its historic launch, as most passengers changed their mind citing personal reasons, officials said. The bus will carry 11 passengers from this side as against its sanctioned strength of 30, said Liaqat Hussain, deputy commissioner of Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani zone of Kashmir. 'Many people who were cleared for the second ride have declined to travel for some domestic reasons,' he told AFP. The second bus linking the divided zones of Kashmir will leave the terminal here around 9:00 am (0930 IST) and reach the town of Chakhoti on the dividing Line of Control (LoC) two hours later, he said. Hussain denied the prospective travellers dropped out due to security fears on the Indian side amid opposition from hardline separatists. He said many passengers expressed desire to travel by the third bus which is due to leave on May 5, because they said 'it is wheat harvesting season'. Others cited marriages in their families, he added. Some of others opted out after Pakistani and Indian leaders agreed to start a second bus service between Poonch in Indian Kashmir to Rawalakot in Pakistan, he said. 'The Poonch- Rawalakot route suits all those travellers who have relatives in the Jammu and Rajouri areas on the other side of the LoC,' he said. Pakistani and Indian authorities swapped lists of passengers for the second bus, a day after the April 7 launch of the service between Indian administered Kashmir's summer capital Srinagar and Muzaffarabad, capital of the Pakistani zone. India cleared 47 of the 50 names in the Pakistani list, most of them were from the southern districts of Pakistani Kashmir.