Kashmiri traders visiting Muzaffarabad next month
18 August 2005
The Daily Times
New Delhi: A 55-member delegation of Kashmiri traders from Jammu and Kashmir is scheduled to visit Muzaffarabad (Azad Jammu and Kashmir) on September 30 to explore trade links between both Kashmirs.Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industries President Ram Sahai told reporters on Thursday that the delegation would consist of 35 prominent traders and businessmen from the Jammu region and 20 from Kashmir Valley. He said that during 'our seven-day visit we will meet political leaders, traders and other people to discuss the need for opening trade links'.Sahai said he would also ask Pakistani leaders to reopen the traditional routes from the Jammu region as well, especially the Suchetgarh-Sialkot Road, which is the shortest link between Jammu and Mirpur.He said the delegation had told Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the need to open the Suchetgarh-Sialkot Road link.The Kashmir chief minister had also said at a rally in Jammu that opening of the Suchetgarh-Sialkot Road would promote trade besides allow the easy movement of people on both sides.'I don't know if Pakistan has any reservations about the road, but I am confident that it will be opened soon,' he added.The opening of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad Road had helped divided families meet each other and he now saw the prospect of trade activity taking place on both sides with the opening of the Suchetgarh-Sialkot Road, the chief minister said, adding that it would help development on both sides of the border. 'Nobody can stop that day from arriving,' he added.Praising Manmohan Singh for taking interest in developing Jammu and Kashmir, the chief minister said properly implementing the prime minister's economic reconstruction package would take the state's GDP growth rate to 10 percent in 2006-07.He said the state had embarked upon a path of massive development and reconstruction for which adequate funds had been made available. He said apart from the Rs 240 billion package and normal annual budget, Rs 14 billion had been obtained from the Asian Development Bank for large road, sewerage and drainage projects.