Govt servants barred from crossing LoC
25 May 2006
Muzaffarabad: Pakistani authorities dealing with the trans-Kashmir movement of Kashmiris have once again restricted government employees from availing themselves of the facility. The decision is difficult to understand in view of pledges made by Indian and Pakistani leaders that the Line of Control had been softened to help divided families, particularly those affected by the last year’s earthquake. On Thursday, when 28 people crossed the unmarked dividing line through the Chakothi-Uri crossing point to meet their relatives in Indian- held Kashmir, Khawaja Salahuddin could not control his tears when he was told that he could not proceed. Mr Salahuddin, his wife Hafeeza Bano, son Bilal Ahmed and daughter Maryam had been making preparations for the visit for two weeks after they were informed by the office of ‘designated authority’ for the Uri crossing point to get ready for the journey. A junior employee of the AJK electricity department, 52-year-old Salahuddin had also obtained leave and a ‘no objection certificate’ from his office. However, on Wednesday, only 24 hours before the scheduled departure, an official informed him that he could not make the visit under a fresh directive by the ‘authorities’. According to a source, the designated authority’s office was directed through a fax at about 215 pm to exclude the names of eight people from the list of the passengers. These eight persons, who had been cleared by intelligence agencies and their counterparts on the other side for the LoC, had one thing in common — - all are government servants. But interestingly, one of them had already made to the other side of the LoC about a month ago.