Fourteen vehicles from Muzaffarabad reach Kashmir Valley

October 21st, 2008 - 7:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Salamabad (Jammu and Kashmir), Oct 21 (IANS) Fourteen lorries loaded with goods from Pakistan-administered Kashmir Tuesday crossed the Kaman post - the last Indian point on the Line of Control (LOC) in Uri sector - and reached a trade facilitation centre here to an emotional reception by locals.Hundreds of school children clapped to greet their arrival as the brand new Hyundai pickup load carriers sporting Pakistani Kashmir flags reached the trade centre. Attired in colourful dresses, locals from the nearby villages beat drums and danced.

Top industries and commerce official Pawan Kotwal and Basheer Ahmad Khan, district magistrate Baramulla, received the convoy from Muzaffarabad, the Pakistani Kashmir capital.

Senior civil and police officers were also present when the convoy crossed over to the Indian side through the Aman Setu, or peace bridge, on Jhelum River near the Kaman post.

The occasion was equally emotional and upbeat for the drivers of these load carriers.

“I never imagined I would be driving a vehicle into the valley with goods. It is a dream come true. My grandfather used to talk of traffic and goods movement on the Jhelum Valley road. I have done it today,” said Muhammad Ashraf, 36, who brought a consignment of goods here from Muzaffarabad.

“I am carrying maize, basmati rice, turmeric, spices, rock salt and Peshawari slippers.

“I am extremely happy the trade has started today between parts of divided Kashmir,” said Sajad Hussain, 26, driver of another Hyundai pickup load carrier.

The load carriers, from Pakistani Kashmir as per the trade agreement, unloaded their consignments at the trade centre and returned home in the evening.

“It is a great beginning and nobody can now reverse this process. The road has finally opened to unite hearts and minds leaving behind the acrimony and bitterness of the past 60 years,” said Abdul Salam, 67, a resident of Baramulla town, who had come here to witness a new chapter being written in India-Pakistan relations.

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