Pak nationals should have easy access to Valley: Mufti
8 October 2004
News Network International
Srinagar: The puppet chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said Kashmir should be opened for Pakistanis and that there should be no restrictions on their movement in the Valley. He was talking to media persons at the dinner hosted by him for the visiting Pakistani journalists at his residence here. 'I have told the prime minister and the home minister that Pakistanis visiting different parts of this country should be allowed to visit Kashmir if they wish. I do not think there is any difficulty in doing so as the people from Pakistan are visiting other parts of the country on valid travel documents', Mufti said. He added that because of this reason, the central government allowed the team of Pakistani journalists to visit Jammu and Kashmir. 'We have nothing to hide here from the outside world including Pakistan. The media persons from the nieghbouring country visited the places of their choice and talked to persons whom they wanted to. They interacted with pro-freedom leaders including Geelani Saheb and met the people wherever they wished. Nobody stopped them or put restrictions on their movement', Mufti said. He said the media persons from the neighbouring country gathered information freely and they would present those independently before their readers, listeners and viewers. Mufti described as a good beginning the visit of journalists. 'A new trend has been set and I hope more and more delegations from that country would visit Kashmir. Infact a Pakistani journalist was suggesting to me about the exchange of cultural troops', he said. He hoped that the reopening of Uri-Muzaffarbad road would become a reality soon. The people from both the parts of Kashmir should be allowed to move freely and this would a great service for the divided families. Referring to Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani's statement as why Amnesty International is not granted permission in Kashmir, Mufti said, 'The foreign delegations have been visiting Valley from time to time. They have been assessing the situation and I told you there is nothing to hide'. Later, the chief minister had an interaction with the Pakistani media persons. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, who was also present, is reported to have said that state government is open on the human rights violation issue. She said she does not deny that human rights violations do not take place. But Mehbooba said the human rights situation has improved considerably. Mehbooba suggested to Pakistani journalists to visit the people, affected by either side of violence. Before the dinner, a cultural programme by information department was presented. It was a mixture of Kashmiri and Urdu ghazals. Renowned singer Kailash Mehra also presented the famous song of Habba Khatoon 'Chulhama Rooshay Rooshay, Walau Mainee Pooshay Madnoo'. A song praising the beauty was Valley was also an item of the functiopn besides the traditional rouf.