The cross-LoC bus service through the Poonch-Rawalakot road continued to remain suspended for the fifth week in a row, triggering protests by stranded residents of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) today, officials said. The weekly bus service was suspended on July 10, due to heavy firing and shelling by Pakistani troops in Poonch sector, leaving 116 PoK guests stranded at the houses of their relatives on this side of the Line of Control (LoC). Though there was no fresh ceasefire violation reported in the sector since July 21, the bus service was not allowed to resume for the fifth consecutive week today. The PoK residents staged a protest at the Poonch stadium, the place where the passengers travelling on the route usually gather before leaving for Chakan-da-bagh crossing point, demanding early return to their homes. "The PoK residents staged protest and later met me in my office demanding early return," Deputy Commissioner, Poonch, Tariq Ahmad Zargar told PTI. The protesters were concerned about the welfare of their families back home and some complained that they had taken leave from work for just a fortnight. "I assured them that we are hopeful of a solution within shortest possible time," Zargar said adding "we are doing our best to ensure early return of the PoK residents and have taken up the matter with the Army authorities".
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