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Bus: India, Pak to exchange applications

By K J M Varma in Islamabad
March 21, 2005 23:19 IST
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India and Pakistan will on Tuesday handover to each other the applications of people wishing to travel in the first Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus on April 17 and also discuss the arrangements for the service.

The officials will also discuss the arrangements for the bus service that will start on April 7, Pakistan foreign office spokesman Jalil Abbas Jilani told reporters.

Jilani ruled out the possibility of media being allowed to travel in the first trip. The journalists from both sides will be allowed to cover the flagging off ceremony, he said. The decision was taken to give preference to people who wanted to travel, he said.

The deputy commissioner of Muzaffarabad, who has been nominated by Pakistan as the designated authority for issuing permits, will meet his Indian counterpart near the Line of Control, the spokesman said.

India has designated the Regional Passport Officer in Srinagar to process application forms.

The two countries decided to run the service every fortnight. Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir Prime Minister Sikandar Hayat Khan will flag off the service from Pakistan.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said members of the divided families in Kashmir will be the first to travel to Muzaffarabad when the bus service is flagged off.

Addressing reporters in Srinagar, he said thousands of applications had been received and it will not be long before the bus will start plying daily between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad.

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K J M Varma in Islamabad
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