‘Attack on Ram temple won’t affect peace process’
* Pakistan and India decide to focus on Amritsar-Lahore bus
* Trial run likely this month or early next month
NEW DELHI: Despite the terror attack in Ayodhya, India and Pakistan have decided to push the ongoing peace process by focusing on the proposed Amritsar-Lahore bus.
“The Amritsar-Lahore bus is firmly on course. A trial run may be held this month or early next month,” Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner Munawar Bhatti told IANS.
The two countries had agreed in Islamabad in May to start the bus service between Amritsar and Lahore over the next two months. They also agreed “in principle” to run another bus from Amritsar to Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak.
“The meeting on finalising the technical details will be held soon. We are determined to start the bus. The memorandum of understanding (MoU) is yet to be signed and is pending approval by both countries,” Bhatti said.
In their May meeting, India and Pakistan discussed the modalities of starting the bus service, including the route, bus terminals, facilities for the bus crew and visa arrangements. The Amritsar-Lahore bus will operate on a weekly basis. Bhatti ruled out any threat to the peace process due to the terror attack at the Ram temple complex in Ayodhya, calling it an “internal affair of India”.
“The peace process is irreversible. Nothing will be allowed to stand in its way,” he said.
“We are trying to strengthen the peace process and working hard for the resolution of all issues between the two countries.”
“We will continue with the second round of composite dialogue and hold discussions on nuclear and conventional confidence-building measures (CBMs), economic cooperation, drugs and terrorism over the next two months.” Early this week, Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz discussed with Indian External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, the opening of more trade and transport links, including the Wagah-Attari link.
The two leaders also vowed to carry the peace process forward by advocating an “out-of-box thinking” for resolving all issues, including Jammu and Kashmir.
During the visit of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf to India in April, both sides had agreed to reopen the Munabao-Khokrapar rail link between Rajasthan and Sindh. online