M A I N   N E W S

Partial dry run of bus conducted
Tribune News Service and UNI

Srinagar, April 4
A dry run of the India-Pakistan bus from Kaman Bridge, the last Indian military post, to Srinagar was today successfully completed. However, the trial from Srinagar to the Line of Control (LoC) has been postponed and will now be conducted tomorrow.

The bus, which started from the Kaman Post at 8 a.m. reached here at around 4.30 p.m. amid tight security arrangements, official sources said.

The bus was scheduled to reach here at 2 p.m. but was delayed by nearly two-and-a-half hours.

The bus reached here amid tight security and was escorted by a pilot jeep, vehicles carrying paramilitary forces and personnel of the Jammu and Kashmir Police besides an ambulance and a recovery van.

As soon as the bus reached the Tourist Reception Centre here, traffic came to a standstill.

“I am happy to be the chosen one to drive the bus that will bring together the divided families,’’ said Mr Khurshid Ahmed, the driver.

The dry run of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus from Srinagar to Kaman Bridge, earlier scheduled to be held today, was postponed till tomorrow as the security forces had sought at least four to five hours’ time to sanitise the bus.

The sources said the buses could not be sanitised yesterday as they were handed over to the security forces by the Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation (JKSRTC) late last evening.

Meanwhile, with only two days left for the historic bus service to be flagged off here on Thursdays’ security measures have been taken for the smooth conduct of the event. The security forces in and around the summer capital are on high alert ahead of the event, as vital installations have been taken over by security forces and random checking and frisking operations have been intensified.

The security agencies are looking after the security at SK cricket stadium, the venue of the main function, where Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh is scheduled to flag off the bus. Besides, security concern is more for over 100-km-long stretch of the Srinagar-Uri road that leads to Muzaffarabad across the LoC.

In view of the renewed threat by militants against those venturing to board the bus, many of the prospective passengers have shifted from their respective places. Sources said the passengers, determined to board the bus to meet their relatives across the LoC, have been shifted to secure places. While these passengers continued to remain under “security”, some of them managed to get tickets for boarding the bus. Twenty-nine passengers are supposed to travel on the inaugural day.

Police sources said that no prospective passengers had approached for getting security in view of the threat by militants. These held that if some of the passengers changed their decision not to board the bus “we have a long list of aspirants”, adding that nobody would be forced to board the bus.

The separatist Hurriyat Conference, led by Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, which had welcomed the bus service, has expressed concern over the security arrangements as common man was put to trouble “in the name of security”. A spokesman of the APHC here stated that security forces resorted to random checking, harassment to people, picking up of youths, restrictions on movement of vehicles and road blockades at innumerous places. The valley had virtually become a cantonment and harassment of people was at its peak, lamented the leader.



Musharraf's three-day visit to India from April 16

Islamabad, April 4
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf will pay a three-day visit to India from April 16 during which he will hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and will also watch the last one-day cricket match of the Indo-Pakistan series in Delhi on April 17.

Gen Musharraf will be visiting India from April 16 to 18, ruling PML-Q party Secretary Mushahid Hussain told reporters in Lahore yesterday.

He said the trip would provide an opportunity to the two sides to discuss various issues. — PTI



Pak PM for Jammu-Sialkot bus service

Islamabad, April 4
The Prime Minister of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) Sardar Sikandar Hayat has said that after the Srinagar- Muzaffarabad bus service he was proposing two more Kashmir bus service between India and Pakistan.

The News quoted him as saying that he was planning to propose to Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, the start of the Jammu- Sialkot and Poonch-Madarpur bus services. — ANI


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