October 2004 News

Kashmiri and Indian leaders pleased with Pakistani journalists' visit

19 October 2004
The Daily Times
Iftikhar Gilani

New Delhi: Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, the held Kashmir chief minister, discussed the impact of Pakistani journalists' visit to Kashmir with Shivrraj Patil, the Indian home minister, on Tuesday. Both leaders were satisfied with the visit and felt that people-to-people contact would help strengthen the peace process, sources privy to the meeting told Daily Times.It was also felt that the meeting between Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and President Pervez Musharraf in New York had helped improve security in Kashmir and 'normalcy has started returning to the state,' sources said.Mufti told reporters after the meeting that the dialogue between New Delhi and the All Parties Hurriyat Conference would restart soon. He, however, said that a congenial atmosphere needed for talks. The chief minister said that the restoration of peace in the state was an evolutionary process. 'Peace has to be built step by step and brick by brick and there is certainly a movement forward,' he added.Mr Patil told reporters that India would help Kashmir chief minister take steps for peace before talks. He parried a question on when he was inviting Hurriyat leaders for dialogue.Meanwhile, the proposed economic package for Kashmir is being recast following the chief minister's discussion with Dr Singh on Monday. The package by the prime minister's office had laid stress on big long-term projects to boost the state's economy but the chief minister said the people needed immediate relief. He said that package should lay emphasis on more jobs. 'The prime minister has agreed to the chief minister's suggestion,' highly placed sources said.


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