Jammu and Kashmir not impacted by travel advisory against Pakistan

December 27th, 2008 - 3:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar/Jammu, Dec 27 (IANS) The central government’s travel advisory asking Indians not to travel to Pakistan has had no immediate effect on movement of people between the state of Jammu and Kashmir and the neighbouring country, officials said Saturday.B.S. Manavalan, the regional passport officer in Srinagar, told IANS: “I don’t think travel on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road from our side would be affected because of this travel advisory. We have not received official intimation about the travel advisory so far.”

The state has two road links with Pakistan - the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route and the Poonch-Rawalkote route.

Poonch Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Afzal Bhat said: “On the first Monday after the Mumbai attack only six people from India went across the border and no one came from Pakistan. From Dec 1 only 145 Indians and 50 Pakistanis have used the weekly service although normally over 200 people use it.

“This Monday 51 people are scheduled to go to Pakistan and 21 Pakistanis are coming here. The impact of the advisory will only be seen from next week since the bookings for now have already been done.”

The two bus services between Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan were launched as part of the peace process in 2005.

The travel across the border has helped hundreds of members of divided families, many of whom had not been able to visit each other since the partition of the country in 1947.

However, India Friday issued an advisory against travel to Pakistan following the reported arrest of several Indians in the country, who had been charged with terrorism.

“There have been reports in the Pakistani media that several Indian nationals have been arrested over the last two days in Lahore and Multan, and are being accused of being terrorists,” an external affairs ministry spokesman said.

“Since it has also been reported in the Pakistani media yesterday (Thursday) that the senior police officer in Lahore was unaware of the arrest in his city, it seems that this is the work of other agencies in Pakistan that operate outside the law and civilian control.

“Indian citizens are therefore advised that it would be unsafe for them to travel or be in Pakistan,” the spokesman added.

Tensions between the two countries have heightened since the Nov 26-29 Mumbai carnage that claimed more than 170 lives and that India has blamed on Pakistani terrorists.

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