24 Kashmiris make historic LoC crossing on foot
19 November 2005
Our Staff Correspondent
Muzaffarabad: Some 24 residents of held Kashmir on Saturday became the first Kashmiris in nearly 60 years to cross on foot the heavily militarized Line of Control in the north-eastern Neelum Valley. An elderly woman was the first among the 16 men and eight women to cross the dividing line through a shaky foot bridge launched over River Neelum by the Pakistan military, connecting Neelum Valley’s Chilyana village to Tithwal village on the other side. Police said three of the visitors had relatives in Mirpura village of Neelum Valley, while the rest had to travel to Muzaffarabad. However, since landslides following last month’s earthquake have cut off the Neelum Valley road, the visitors were taken to the valley’s headquarters, Athmuqam. From there they are likely to be flown to the state capital by an army helicopter on Sunday. This month India and Pakistan opened five crossing points along the LoC to facilitate the quake-hit people of Kashmir. But so far only relief goods have been exchanged through these points. On Thursday, 24 stranded residents of occupied Kashmir were allowed to cross over from the Chakothi-Uri crossing point. They had come here by the trans-LoC bus service, which was suspended in the aftermath of the quake. Official sources said the AJK residents who were stranded on the other side of the LoC would also return home from the Chakothi- Uri point in a couple of days. An ISPR spokesman said Pakistan still awaited clearance of 123 names by India who wanted to travel across the LoC to meet and console with their quake-hit relatives.