Emphasising the need for increasing the frequency of trans-border bus services, the Prime Minister's working group for strengthening relations across the Line of Control has recommended opening of seven additional routes for facilitating travel for tourism and religious and medical purposes.
The group headed by M Rasgotra, which submitted its report to the third roundtable conference on Kashmir in April, recommended opening of the Kargil-Skardu, Jammu-Sialkot, Turtuk-Khapulu, Chamb-Jorian, Gurez-Astoor-Gilgit, Teetwal-Chilhan and Jhanger-Mirpur routes across the LoC.
The proposal for opening the additional routes came in the wake of another recommendation by the group which sought to allow people outside divided families to travel across the LoC.
The categories of people recommended for travel include those who intend to visit places of religious interest, those in need of medical aid and tourists.
Since it has been recommended that more people be allowed to travel across the LoC, it would be necessary to increase the frequency of bus services and open additional routes, the group's report said.
The report said the working group was unanimous in its view that the initiative to open new routes should be taken by authorities unilaterally regardless of the nature of response from the Pakistani side.