Centre-Hurriyat talks bring positive change in J&K: Mehbooba
25 March 2004
The Hindustan Times
Press Trust of India
Srinagar: Welcoming the second round of talks between Centre and Hurriyat Conference to be held on Saturday, the ruling People's Democratic Party in Jammu and Kashmir has said the dialogue process has brought about a positive change in the state. 'Our party's emphasis for a meaningful dialogue process between New Delhi and Islamabad and the Kashmiri separatist leaders have brought about a positive change in Jammu and Kashmir,' PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said at a party convention on Thursday. Mehbooba said a new era of peace and friendship had begun between India and Pakistan and both countries have not only arrived at an agreement to resolve their bilateral issues including Kashmir through dialogue but even agreed to open borders for easy movement of people across the two sides. 'People of the state are the major beneficiaries of the peace between the two countries as hostility between the two sides has cost us dearly. We are now looking forward to the day when a bus from Srinagar leaves for Muzaffarabad crossing the Line of Control (LoC),' the PDP president said. Expressing hope that Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road would be opened this year, state finance minister Muzaffar Hussain Beig said an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity was being created to bring the divided people across LoC closer. Lambasting the erstwhile National Conference regime's attitude towards talks, Mehbooba said the then Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah used to suggest bombardment of Pakistan and Pak-occupied Kashmir on the ground that Islamabad was the 'enemy number one'.