Four years after Carvan-e-Aman, the bus service across the Line of Control (LoC), was launched between two parts of divided Jammu and Kashmir, it has achieved its goal: People to people contact, albeit of the romantic kind.
Last Sunday, when Ejaz Mir, a resident of Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir, married Kounsar Jabeen from Srinagar, the bus played matchmaker.
Wednesday is the first anniversary of trade relation between the two Kashmirs.
Love between the two parts, which were out of bounds from each other between 1947 and 2005, is also blossoming.
The seeds were sown last year in December, when Jabeen went to Muzaffarabad, on Carvan-e-Aman to visit her relatives.
For Mir the marriage achieved two goals. He was able to marry his love as well as fulfil his father’s wish. “My father wanted me to marry in this side of Kashmir. I am hopeful this marriage will rekindle his ancestral relations with the Valley,” the 29-year-old businessman, told the Hindustan Times.
“It’s not easy to get married there as the culture and language are different. I took a bold step in deciding my life partner,” said Jabeen, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Computers degree in Srinagar. The border is again playing a spoilsport for Mir. The wedding party returning to PoK has to be split to honour the rules. The groom will travel on the Carvan-e-Aman on a permit to reach Muzaffarabad and bride will have to drive down to the Wagah border and enter Muzaffarabad on a visa.
"It's disheartining that my bride is not accompanying me. It's sad but so are the rules," Ejaz told the HT.
Relatives accompanying the groom have one demand: the two governments should make travel hassle free for Kashmiris.