china-pakistan bus service through pok launched

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The bus which will cover the one-way journey in 36 hours, left for Kashgar in Xianjing, China, from the Gulberg terminal in Lahore. The USD 60 billion CPEC, launched in 2015, is a planned network of roads, railways and energy projects linking China and Pakistan

Despite objections raised by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), the private bus service between Pakistan and China, which is operated under CPEC (China Pakistan Economic Corridor), was launched late Monday night.

According to a report by a Pakistani news agency, the first bus which will cover the one-way journey in 36 hours, left for Kashgar in Xianjing, China, from the Gulberg terminal in Lahore.

Earlier this month, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar stated that any bus service between Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and China violates India's sovereignty. "We have lodged a strong protest with China and Pakistan on the proposed bus service that will operate from Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir to China under the so-called CPEC. Any such bus service through areas occupied by Pakistan will be a violation of India's sovereignty and territoriality,” said Kumar.

During the two-day journey, which will have buses being operated after authorisation by North-South Transport Network (NSTN), the passengers will have multiple stops, including one at Islamabad or Rawalpindi to pick passengers, and scheduled stops at Mansehra and Besham in Pakistan and Chilas and Gilgit in PoK on the first day.

On the second day of the journey, a breakfast halt will be made at Sost before heading towards the border for immigration procedures. The bus will cross over to China through the Khunjerab Pass at the border, where checking will take place twice -- once on the Pakistani side and once on the Chinese side. Special arrangements have been made for the security of the passengers and the service, while the driver will have all information to contact security guards at various check posts.

While a one-way ticket from Lahore to Kashgar and Kashgar to Lahore costs PKR 13,000 and RMB 600 respectively per head, a round trip will cost PKR 23000. To avail the service, passengers are required to carry a valid passport, visa and a return ticket as travel documents and baggage not weighing more than 20 kg per head. Being an initiative under the CPEC, the bus service seeks to cater small-scale businessmen from both the countries.

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