Karwan-e-Aman bus: 799 PaK guests visited Kashmir in 2018

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Srinagar, Dec 31: As many as 799 guests from Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) visited Kashmir valley while 215 Kashmiri residents crossed over to the other side of the Line of Control (LoC) during 2018 in the weekly Karvan-e-Aman bus, operating between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad.
Official sources said that a resident of PaK arrived at Kaman Post on Monday after crossing the Aman Setu, peace bridge, on foot to meet their relatives, separated in 1947 due to partition. A Kashmiri resident, who had gone to PaK in a previous bus, returned here.
“Two Kashmiris crossed over to the other side of the LoC to meet their relatives while there was no returnee in the bus,” they added.
They said as many as 799 resident of PaK availed the service of Karwan-e-Aman bus to meet their relatives in the valley in 2018. Similarly, they said 215 Kashmiri residents crossed to the other side to meet their relatives this year.
They said the despite tense situation along the LoC due to ceasefire violations, the bus was suspended only five times in 2018. “Among these, the bus was suspended only once for security reasons on August 6,” they added.
The highest number of 59 guests arrived from PaK on July 7 while no PaK resident arrived here on November 26, despite the bus service being operational.
Similarly, they said the highest number of 24 Kashmiris availed the bus service and cross the LoC on February 26. “On six occasions, no Kashmiri resident crossed to the other side of the LoC in the bus,” they added.
The number of visitors from PaK drops during the winter when temperature goes down in Kashmir. However, the number of guests increases during the summer when weather remains pleasant here.
On the contrary, the number of Kashmiris visiting PaK increases during winter and goes down in summer.
The intercross-LoC bus service was one of the major Confidence Building Measures (CBM) taken by India and Pakistan, after both the countries agreed for a ceasefire on LoC and the International Border in Jammu and Kashmir, in 2003.
The peace bus service has been operating, despite repeated attempts by the militants to sneak into this side from PaK after the higher reaches close due to snowfall for winter months. The bus has since helped thousands of divided families to meet each other. However, only state subjects from both the sides are eligible to travel in the bus, after their names are cleared by the intelligence agencies from both the sides.