The Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service, which was suspended two weeks ago following a stand-off between India and Pakistan over the release of a Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) truck driver, who was held following a major drug seizure at Salamabad on the Indian side, will be resumed on February 3, as the situation now appears to be heading for a resolution.
The weekly bus service crosses over from Srinagar to PoK every Monday.
The headway was made after Pakistan softened its stand on the release of the driver. However, no decision has been taken on the resumption of trade between the two separated parts of the state.
"The stand-off is likely to be resolved soon. As a first step, Pakistan is allowing travel to be resumed," said Kashmir divisional commissioner Shailendra Kumar.
"The decision regarding the release of Indian drivers stranded on the other side is likely to be taken next week. The good news is that Pakistan is not insisting on the driver's release or the return of seized narcotics," he added.
On January 17, Indian authorities had seized brown sugar worth Rs 100 crore from a truck coming from PoK, after which Pakistan had closed the border, putting the trade and travel on hold. The consignment was hidden in a truck carrying almonds for a trader in North Kashmir.
The PoK authorities have detained 27 trucks and the drivers of these vehicles at Chakothi across the LoC, while 48 drivers from PoK are stranded at the Salamabad Trade Facilitation Centre.
Pakistan had offered to resume talks on January 27. Kashmir industries and commerce director Javed Khan has gone to Salamabad to lead the talk from the Indian side.