April 2006 News

Ease verification process: Mehbooba

7 April 2006
The Hindu
Shujaat Bukhari

Srinagar: The Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service will bridge the gap between India and Pakistan and also pave the way for resolution of the long- pending Kashmir issue, People's Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti said here on Friday. Anniversary observed On the eve of the first anniversary of the service, the PDP celebrated its launch as 'Youmi Karavan-e-Aman' (Caravan of Peace Day) and organised a public meeting. Named 'Karavan-e-Aman,' the service was launched on April 7 last year and is seen as the biggest Kashmir- centric confidence building measure between the two countries. Maintaining that the service had opened a pleasant chapter in the otherwise 'hostile history' of India and Pakistan, Ms. Mehbooba said it had given a fillip to the peace process. But she regretted that the process of verification for acquiring the travel permit was cumbersome. 'When Mufti Saheb and I met the Prime Minister recently, we urged him to look at this aspect so that people are able to cross freely,' she said, adding that 'this should not be confined to divided families only but all Kashmiris on both sides should be allowed to come and go.' Amicable solution She advocated the option of self-rule as an 'amicable and durable solution' to the Kashmir issue. 'We want restoration of the political powers we enjoyed in 1947 and option of self-rule ensures the powers, which formed the basic condition when we acceded to India,' she said. Stating that Kashmiri youths should be inducted in the Police Department in large numbers and the responsibility of internal security handed over to the Jammu and Kashmir Police, Ms. Mehbooba said it was the 'right time to do so.' 'Kashmir can become a bridge between India and Pakistan and in an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity, both the countries will prosper and develop for good,' she added. Act must be withdrawn Ms. Mehbooba said that laws such as the Disturbed Areas Act and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act should also be withdrawn to allow the atmosphere to improve. The PDP president paid tribute to 12 Kashmiris who were killed in a militant attack in Uri on April 8, 2004 when the PDP had organised the 'Uri Chalo' march. The party has also erected a memorial in Uri market.


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