LoC crossing point opening delayed
31 July 2006
The Daily Times
Srinagar: India and Pakistan have postponed the opening of a crossing point along the Line of Control (LoC), a move that comes amid a halt in the peace efforts between the two countries, sources said on Monday. The crossing point was to be the fifth opened across the LoC since last years devastating earthquake that left tens of thousands dead in Kashmir. But hours before its scheduled opening on Monday near the town of Silikot, 110 kilometres north of Srinagar, Indian authorities said that the opening would have to be put off indefinitely because Pakistan was not ready. The Pakistani army conveyed their lack of preparedness in a meeting with our army officers on Sunday who had met to check the final preparedness on both sides, Indian army spokesman Lt Col VK Batra told The Associated Press. An Indian immigration officer in Srinagar, L Sreeramalu, said that the authorities had cleared 25 people from Pakistani-administered Kashmir to cross into IHK before the delay was announced. Despite the official explanation for Mondays delay, many here saw it as proof of deteriorating relations between the two countries. This is further evidence that (the) peace process between India and Pakistan is considerably slowing down after the Mumbai blasts, said Showkat Ahmed, a political analyst in Kashmir told AP. Staff Report from Islamabad adds: Speaking to Daily Times, Inter- Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Shaukat Sultan said: The officials of district administrations from both sides met on Sunday to finalise the opening on Monday. But during the meeting it emerged that the Indian side was not prepared as it had not yet put in place the hot-line. The ISPR DG said that Pakistan had completed five months ago all the necessary arrangements for the fifth LoC opening. The Indian side is wrongly blaming Pakistan for not being prepared. It was agreed in the meeting on Sunday that the Indian side would make all necessary arrangements and the fifth point would now be opened on August 7, he said.