Mufti For Withdrawal Of Negative Travel Advisories
8 March 2005
The Indian Express
Jammu: Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has asked the western countries, particularly United Kingdom, to lift the adverse travel advisories issued for their nationals on visiting Kashmir. Interacting with a delegation from British High Commission, New Delhi, led by its First Secretary (Political), Sarah Lampert, he said given the improvement in the political situation in the state such advisories advising their nationals against travel to J&K have lost relevance and are proving hindrance to the free-flow of visitors from these countries. The Chief Minister said United Kingdom could take lead in this given the historic relations British had with India. He said the last season Kashmir witnessed a brisk tourist inflow and people welcomed this development. Lampert assured the Chief Minister that she would take his comments up line when the policy would come up for review shortly. Mufti told Lampert that the recent civic polls in the state and a high participation of women in them has amply exhibited peoples faith in democracy, good governance and yearning for peace. He said irrespective of who won or lost people demonstrated their concern for their day to day problems. Lampert enquired from the Chief Minister about response of the people towards the forthcoming Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service. The Chief Minister informed her of the overwhelming response the bus opening has generated in the state among people particularly the divided families. He said the recent rush for getting the boarding forms for the bus services shows the curiosity of people to see their relatives on the other side of the LoC after about 58 years. He appreciated the statesmanship shown by the leadership of both the countries on this issue. He described the bus opening as a great confidence building measure between the two countries. Other members of the delegation comprised Eric Taylor, India-Pakistan Relations Desk Officer and Alexander Evans, Senior Research Analyst.