Wednesday, May 28, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Pak too ready for bus service

Islamabad, May 27
Two Pakistani buses are ready and waiting to resume the stalled run to New Delhi as soon as the authorities give the green light, travel officials said today, after India matched Pakistan’s pledge to revive the service.

“We are prepared to resume the bus service to New Delhi,” Anwer Sajid, manager of a subsidiary of the state-run Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation, said.

“As soon as we get the green light from the government and visas are issued to passengers the bus service will be on the road again.”

Sajid’s agency has readied two buses for the 13-hour 540 km journey.

New Delhi announced yesterday it had approved the resumption of a twice-weekly service to Lahore, Pakistan’s easternmost city, “as soon as details are worked out by the technical authorities of the two countries.”

Pakistan on May 6 had announced its intention to resume the bus route as part of a package of confidence-building measures in response to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s “head of friendship” offer on April 18.

The Delhi-Lahore bus service was closed down in December 2001 following an attack on Parliament that New Delhi said was masterminded by Pakistani intelligence agencies.

The service was aimed at bringing peoples of the two countries closer by providing a cheaper mode of transport. It supplemented the Samjhauta Express train service, till then the only surface link between the two countries.

The Delhi government and the loss-making DTC is also expecting Pakistan to settle its dues of the Rs 24 lakh which it incurred on providing various facilities during the plying of the service in Indian territory for 22 months.

The Delhi Government had written several times to the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation besides the External Affairs Ministry in a bid to get the money but there was no progress. AFP, PTI


Gas pipeline

Islamabad, May 27
As the momentum for peace between India and Pakistan gathered, Islamabad today said it was willing to give all necessary security guarantees to New Delhi with regard to the $ 4.5 billion proposed Indo-Iran gas pipeline project to be laid through its soil. Petroleum Minister Naurez Shakoor admitted that India had reservations about the security of the proposed 2,500-km pipeline from Iran but Pakistan expected New Delhi to take a second look at it “now that the situation is improving.” PTI


27 oppn MLAs held in Pak

Islamabad, May 27
The Pakistan police today arrested 27 opposition legislators of Punjab charging them of disrupting the Assembly session while the lawmakers claimed it was aimed at stalling their planned protests against President Prevez Musharraf. Assembly officials said the legislators, including the Leader of Opposition and a member of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Mr Qasim Zia, were arrested outside the Assembly building as they had disrupted yesterday’s session of the legislature. PTIBack

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