Cross-LoC bus services on the Poonch-Rawalakot road between Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) remained suspended for the fourth consecutive week in the wake of ceasefire violations by Pakistan that have led to border tensions, an official said today. A total of 116 PoK residents, who travelled on the Paigam-e-Aman bus service to visit their relatives in the state, have been held up here for the three weeks. “The cross-LoC bus service remained suspended for the fourth week today,” Custodian LoC Trade Poonch, Mohammad Tanveer, told PTI. The cross-LoC bus service was suspended on July 10 due to heavy firing and shelling from the Pakistani side. There has been no firing and shelling by Pakistan troops in the Poonch sector since July 21.
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Last week, the travellers from PoK had held a protest demonstration in Poonch town demanding the resumption of the cross-LoC bus service between the two sides so that they could return to their homes in PoK. “We have taken up the matter with the officials concerned on the other side and the matter will hopefully be resolved soon,” a district official said. The officials said that for the time being stranded residents have been allowed to stay on this side with their relatives. Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed the worst border skirmishes between India and Pakistan along the LoC in recent weeks as nine soldiers were among 11 people killed and 16 injured. About 35 structures were damaged and more than 110 livestock killed. The Chakan-Da-Bagh crossing point was started in 2006 to facilitate easier trade and travel between the divided families of Jammu and Kashmir and PoK. Cross-LoC trade and travel are considered major confidence building exercises between India and Pakistan.