Speed Up, Expand Cross LoC Ties: Mufti

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Says, Time Ripe for Change

SRINAGAR – Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has said that in spite of the fact the resolution and reconciliation process received a set back during last many years, it was clear that India and Pakistan will have to pick up threads again and speed up the implementation of Cross LoC relations decided between the two countries last year.

Addressing a party workers meeting in Bandipore today he said lack of follow-up at the state level was one of the reasons for slowing down the process. He said instead of building up on the initiatives of 2003-2005 the present government was only raising slogans as they see the electoral mood building up. “Instead of working for removing the hassles in LoC trade and making travel across it easier. The present government had picked up reunification of the erstwhile state and opening of Jammu-Sialkote road in the nature of election time sloganeering,” he said. Senior PDP leader and MLA Bandipore Nizam-u-Din Bhat also addressed the meeting.

Mufti said firm foundations have been laid for opening up of the state and lifting the post partition siege around it with the acceptance of important principles by India and Pakistan by dispensing with the requirements of Visa, Passport and Custom Duty. He said PDP’s idea of change is not just about changing government but it encompasses the issue of resolution of Kashmir conflict through democratic means, economic revival and establishment of institutions which could ultimately empower the people to take their own decisions. He said the present mood among the people indicates that the state is ripe for such a change.

Mufti said the reopening of traditional routes had special significance for areas like Bandipore which before partition were important centres of trade with Cnetral Asia. He said reopening of roads like Bandipore-Gilgit could usher in a new ear of prosperity and cultural revitalization for the people who have been pushed into a dead end following the partition. He said Bandipore with its immense natural assets could genuinely claim a place on the tourist map of the world but unsettled conditions and lack of interests by the successive NC governments in development of infrastructure has relegated such prime spots to oblivion.

Referring to the developmental initiatives taken during the previous PDP-Congress coalition Mufti said granting of district status to Bandipore, opening up of a college, up gradation of district hospital and up gradation of many schools had taken care of long standing demands of the people here. The new educational infrastructure established could have helped harness the considerable intellectual potential, this district is known to possess. He said if these institutions had been further strengthened with appropriate infrastructure and logistical support the district could become a talent bank for the entire state. He said it was his government that had established the Mamnsbal-Wular tourism development authority under which various works were carried out at Mansnbal, Garoora, Athwatoo and Watlab to provide decent facilities for tourists. These works however, could not measure up to the actual potential of the area and it needed a master plan for tourism development in the area which would include Gurez Valley as well.

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