The Northern Areas Transport Corporation (Natco) has decided to launch bus service between Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Islamabad from Thursday.
As earlier announced by the AJK Transport Authority, Natco will start bus service on three new routes: from Mirpur to Islamabad, Muzaffarabad to Islamabad and Mirpur to Muzaffarabad, AJK Transport Minister Tahir Khokher told media persons here on Saturday. He said the air-conditioned bus service will fulfil the much-needed demands of the people for a safe and comfortable transport facility.
AJK Transport Authority Secretary Adil Mahmood Khan said the buses will ply all three routes four times a day, adding that the number of routes and buses will be increased following a phased plan. In Mirpur, the buses will operate from the General Bus Stand, while in Muzaffarabad they will operate from Neelam Bridge chowk on Jail Road, said Khan. He said that in the second phase, bus services will be extended to Lahore and Karachi as well.
While local transporters fear that the bus services will cause a slump in their business, residents of AJK have lauded the move.
When contacted, Shehri Hakook Committee President Nazir Chaudhry appreciated Natco’s decision to launch bus services between Islamabad and AJK. “The people can finally get rid of the dated passenger vans that are overloaded and plied [from AJK to down country] by local transporters,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 2nd, 2012.