The 42-day visa of 35 Pakistan nationals, who had crossed over to India, in cross-LoC bus service, from Rawalkote to Chakan-Da-Bagh area in Poonch is expiring on Monday - January 14 - the scheduled day of bus service, which has been suspended by the Pakistan after mounting tension on the
Pakistan had on Friday said after the cross-LoC trade service, it is also suspending the bus service.
"A total of 65 Pakistan nationals had crossed over to India by the bus service. The maximum visa period of 42 days of 35 nationals is expiring on Monday. Pakistan had not made communication about resumption of this service," custodian Trade Facilitation Centre (Chakan-Da-Bagh) Abdul Hamid, told the HT.
The cross-LoC trade and bus service was started in Oct 2008. It was seen as the biggest confidence-building-measure (CBM) between two the nations. The travelling visa for cross-LoC is also given to residents of Jammu and Kashmir, who have close relatives in other side of the LoC. Poonch has the maximum number of divided families.
The visa is initially given for 28 days and it can at the maximum be extended for another 14 days.
TFC custodian said the visa of 28 days of the rest of the 30 Pakistan nationals is also expiring on Monday.
"For us their official stay is over on Monday. For extension they have to get permission from the deputy commissioner, who will communicate it to the ministry of home affairs," said custodian TFC.
Because of the suspension of bus service, 58 Indian nationals are also stuck in PoK.
Pakistan had last June also suspended the trade and bus service as relations were strained because of continuous ceasefire violation by the Pakistan army. Pakistan continuously fired at Indian side for about a week from June 12-19. The trade and bus service was revived after two-week.
"Their (Pak nationals) stay can be extended on the directions of the ministry of home affairs. However, if the tension persists, they can go from Wagah border or other international border and same procedure holds for Indian nationals stuck there," said the custodian.
The Pakistan has on Jan 10, suspended the trade service, as a result goods worth Rs. 90 lakh remain stranded on this side.
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