‘5-route plan presented’
22 October 2005
Islamabad: Pakistan on Saturday presented to India a formal document containing a comprehensive proposal to allow Kashmiris to move across the Line of Control (LoC) in the aftermath of devastating Oct 8 earthquake. “In pursuance of the proposal made by the president on 18 Oct, 2005, to facilitate two-way movement of Kashmiris across the Line of Control, Pakistan has formally proposed the modalities to the government of India,” the Foreign Office announced here on Saturday. Foreign Secretary Riaz Mohammad Khan at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here handed over the proposal, which apparently mentions five specific routes, to Indian High Commissioner Shiv Shankar Menon in the afternoon. The facility of additional routes unlike the Muzaffarabad-Srinagar bus service would be limited only to the Kashmiris, a senior Foreign Ministry official told Dawn. Pakistan has proposed a meeting of working level delegations headed by senior officials of the two foreign offices before the end of the month to finalize and operationalize the agreed arrangements. It has been proposed that the meeting be held at the earliest possible in Islamabad. Indian response to the proposal is expected by early next week. Pakistan’s formal proposal was prompted by India’s positive initial response to President Gen Pervez Musharraf’s announcement on Tuesday that Pakistan was ready to open LoC to allow Kashmiris from the other side to come and join their relatives in this hour of tragedy. Pakistan maintains that the proposal has the welfare of Kashmiris as its foremost priority. Increased interaction between Kashmiris and promoting intra-Kashmiri dialogue has been part of the ongoing Indo-Pakistan discussions.