Cross-LoC visitors cross 3 digit mark

6 July 2009
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: As citizens from Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), after a long gap, utilised their full quota of 60, the number of cross-LoC visitors today crossed three digit mark to stand at 123 from Chakan-Da-Bagh on Poonch-Rawlakote route. A good number of 33 visitors left Poonch for Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) after last week's 39 leaving only six civilians now with the permits for cross-LoC visit. Only 78 civilians were issued permits for Poonch-Rawlakote route from this side by the Regional Passport Officer (RPO) last week after a gap of more than two months. The number of PoK travellers to Poonch has always been on the higher side as compared to the visitors from this part of the divided State across LoC. However, during last six to seven months especially after 26-11 Mumbai terror attack, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Pakistan has considerably slowed down the process of giving clearance to visitors of Jammu region, who take Poonch-Rawlakote route for visiting PoK, leading to delay in release of permits to them by the RPO. Out of 78 citizens, mostly from twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri, who were issued permits about 10 days, 72 have left for PoK in two weekly crossings (today and last Monday). While 33 civilians from this part of the State left Poonch for PoK today, 39 civilians had crossed LoC from Chakan-Da-Bagh last Monday. With 72 crossings, only six civilians on this side have been left with permits to visit PoK next week unless more visitors are cleared for permits by Pakistan's Home Ministry. It may be mentioned here that 78 civilians had been granted permission to visit PoK after a gap of about two and a half months. The gap in grant of permission has already led to zero crossings for six weeks. Out of a total of 123 civilians, who exchanged sides from Chakan-Da-Bagh today, 61 reached Poonch from PoK. They include 60 first timers from PoK and a lone returnee of this side. From Poonch, 62 civilians left for PoK on weekly Poonch-Rawlakote bus service. Among them were 33 civilians from this part of the State and 29 PoK citizens who returned home after completing their 28 days stay in this part of divided State meeting their divided family members and relatives. This was after a long gap that PoK citizens availed full quota of 60 cross-LoC travellers. During last six months, the number of PoK guests was hovering between 25 to 40. However, it has always been on higher side as compared to visitors from this part of the divided State. Matloob Khan, General Manager, District Industries Centre (DIC), Poonch and Kuldeep Khajuria, SHO Poonch represented this side at Chakan-Da-Bagh while Sadeeq Malik, Assistant Commissioner (Revenue), Hajeera and Khadim Bukhari, Trade Facilitation Officer (TFO), Hajeera were present from PoK side. google_protectAndRun('ads_core.google_render_ad', google_handleError, google_render_ad);