India has stopped the cross-Line of Control (LoC) Poonch and Rawlakote bus service for one week after tensions escalated between India and Pakistan along the LoC. Pakistan persisted with its ceasefire violations on the LoC, leading to the suspension of the service between Chakka Da Bagh in Poonch and Rawalakote in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.
Unprovoked firing from Pakistan from across the LoC into Chakka Da Baghh and Khaari Karmara area of the Poonch sector in Jammu and Kashmir has escalated the situation. The Chakka Da Bagh trade centre was shelled heavily with mortars on Sunday with some parts of the building damaged severely. The shelling in Poonch also killed one soldier of the Indian Army Mohammad Showkat and his wife Safiya. The jawan was on leave and not on duty when the shelling took place.
The Indian Army responded to the Pakistani provocation to neutralise the situation as well. An India Today report suggested that at least a dozen people were injured on the Pakistani side and even few Pakistani soldiers were killed.
The bus service operates under a special agreement between India and Pakistan. The service is called Paigham-e-Aman. The service allows exchange of citizens from both sides on a permit system. The route is meant to be used for trade facilitation as well.
The service has been suspended in the past as well. In March this year, the service was suspended for a week as a precautionary measure after an intense exchange of gunfire and shelling took place along the LoC between the Indian and Pakistani armies. In multiple ceasefire violations by Pakistan, Indian troops were targeted with heavy 82 mm mortar shells along with unprovoked firing from Pakistani troops on four Indian villages.