India, Pakistan plan Kashmir bus service

Himalayan News Service

Islamabad, May 14:

Officials here announced technical-level discussions next month on the Muzaffarabad-Srinagar bus service linking the divided parts of Kashmir amid talk of continuity in the India-Pakistan peace process despite a new government in New Delhi. "I know the final decision is to be taken by the governments, but we will go ahead with the technical level talks," Habib Khan, the managing director of the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC), said. The Vajpayee government had offered to start the bus service between the capitals of two Kashmirs — in India and Pakistan — which Islamabad accepted. The talks for the bus service were to be held in April but could not take place then.

"I can confirm that the technical level talks would be held next month," Khan said, adding, "The final decision about running buses would be taken by the government." He said the confidence building measures (CBMs) taken by the Pakistani and Indian governments and relaxation in visa policy in order to build friendship between the two countries had a positive impact on tourism in Pakistan.