India, Pakistan border crossings to aid quake victims

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Crossing the cease-fire line was forbidden for 58 years, until Pakistan and India agreed to a twice-monthly bus service earlier this year. That was one of the most tangible results so far of a two-year effort to end decades of animosity and resolve the Kashmir dispute. But it was the devastation from South Asia’s worst-ever earthquake that provided the most recent push to override long-standing suspicions between the two countries. The border openings begin Nov. 7. Relief goods can be sent in either direction and handed over to local authorities at the crossings, the Foreign Ministry statement said. Civilians will be allowed to cross on foot, with priority given to families divided by the border. The unprecedented agreement came in response to the Oct. 8 quake that killed more than 78,000 people in northern Pakistan and more than 1,300 in Indian Kashmir. Some 3.3 million people were left homeless and fears for their lives are growing as winter closes in. Procedures at the new crossings will be similar to those implemented earlier this year when bus service was restarted to link the capitals of the two parts of Kashmir. People wanting to cross will have to apply for a permit from officials to have their identities verified. The five crossings will be at the border towns of Nauseri-Teethwal, Chakothi-Uri, Hajipur-Uri, Rawalakot-Poonch and Tattapni-Mendhar. Since the quake, India has delivered tons of supplies to Pakistan and on Wednesday offered $25 million to a sluggish U.N. appeal for funds for emergency relief. India is setting up three camps on its side of the border where Pakistani quake victims can get medical help, food and relief supplies. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – India and Pakistan agreed early today to open the heavily militarized frontier in the disputed Kashmir region to speed help for victims of the devastating South Asia earthquake, the Pakistani Foreign Ministry said. After more than 12 hours of talks, the two sides agreed to establish crossings at five points along the Line of Control, the cease-fire line that has divided the Himalayan region for nearly six decades as the result of the neighbors’ two wars over the area. Opening the border in predominantly Muslim Kashmir is particularly sensitive for India’s government, which has been fighting a 16-year insurgency by Islamic militants who want Indian Kashmir to be independent or united with Pakistan. In the past, India has regularly blamed violence in the region on militants supported by Pakistan. The agreement came as a series of explosions in India’s capital killed dozens of people in carnage that Indian leaders blamed on unspecified terrorists. Pakistan’s government condemned the bloodshed. last_img read more