Islamabad – China and Pakistan have launched a luxury bus service passing through Pakistan-administered Kashmir from Lahore to Kashgar city in China’s Xinjiang province, following India’s objections with regard to the route, PTI reported.
On Monday night, the bus service began its first journey from Gulberg in Lahore and comes under the countries’ initiative to connect via road under the USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The CPEC was launched in 2015 and is a planned network of roads, railways and energy projects linking China’s resource-rich Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region with Pakistan’s strategic Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea.
The bus service was due to begin the previous Saturday. However, it was rescheduled for Monday following intense agitations over the acquittal of Christian woman Aasia Bibi in a blasphemy case. Chairman of Pakistan Economic Forum Humayun Iqbal Shami called it a big day in relations between Pakistan and China.
“The countries which carry better and convenient means of communication between them have more opportunities of strengthening people-to-people contacts,” he said. The bus will take 36 hours from Lahore to reach the Xinjiang province in China’s far west.
The Lahore-Kashgar bus will run four days – Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday – a week from Lahore and will be available from Kashgar on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.