November 2005 News

Opening of third point on LoC delayed

9 November 2005
The Dawn
Raja Asghar

Islamabad: The Indian High Commission in Islamabad on Thursday announced to defer opening of the Tithwal-Nauseri crossing point on LoC – the third in the series of five—till Saturday on the grounds of “non- completion of a foot-bridge on the Neelum river”. The decision was announced a few hours after opening of the second crossing point on the LoC. The Indian diplomat, however, gave fix dates for opening of fourth and fifth point on the LoC next week. Senior officials of the two countries had agreed on October 29 to open five points by November 7 to allow movement of relief supplies and let quake-hit Kashmiris on both sides of the LoC go to the other sides to meet their relatives and friends. But only one point between Tetrinote and Chakan Da Bagh in Rawalakot-Poonch area could be opened on November 7 because of logistical problems cited by India. Even Tetrinote- Chakan point was opened only for movement of relief supplies as both sides had not been able to clear lists of Kashmiris wishing to cross the LoC. The Chakothi-Uri point, which is also the crossing point for the Muzaffarabad-Srinagar bus service that was suspended due to landslides caused by the October 8 earthquake, was reopened on Wednesday. An Indian High Commission press note quoted an External Affairs Ministry spokesperson as saying in New Delhi that opening of the Tithwal-Nauseri point, which was due for Thursday, had been postponed because a foot-bridge being constructed on the Neelum river by the Pakistan army was not yet ready. “In view of this, the opening is being postponed to November 12,” the spokesperson said. No one from the Pakistan army was immediately available for comment. Islamabad had been saying that it was ready to open all the five crossing points on the agreed date of November 7. The Indian HC release further said that the remaining two crossing points — Tattapani-Mendhar and Hajipir-Uri — would be opened on November 14 and 16 respectively. The Wold Food Programme (WFP) said on Tuesday that the roads leading to the LoC must be opened to get vital aid for thousands of homeless survivors before the winter sets in. “We have desperate need for much wider access to hundreds of thousands of people in remote valleys and high plateaus (in Azad Kashmir) near the demarcation line,” a WFP spokeswoman said in Geneva. “If we could establish a land route from India, it would allow us to save thousands of lives.”


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