J&K Working Group Favours Open Borders
20 December 2006
The Hindustan Times
Jammu: One of the working groups on Kashmir set up by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in May has recommended open borders between India and Pakistan. The working group on crossLoC issues has asked the state government to take immediate steps to open the borders between two Kashmirs for free flow of people. This recommendation is aimed at arming the Centre with a document of popular will - the kind that the Prime Minister and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf have advocated in recent months. Both are for reducing borders to a 'line on the map.' Chairman of the working group, M.K. Rasgotra, a former foreign secretary, made the announcement at the end of the last meeting of the group late on Tuesday evening. Though separatists are not part of the working group, they too are in favour of open borders. 'There should be no restrictions and no barriers on the LoC. Let people move freely,' is what All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, currently in Oslo, Norway, has said on a number of occasions. Jammu Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party leader Shabir Shah wants 'no barriers' between two parts of Kashmir. Rasgotra said that besides recommending eight or more crossing points at various points along the LoC, suggestions for softening of procedures for travelling across the LoC have also been finalised. These recommendations have been compiled and would be submitted to Prime Minister soon. The National Conference did not take part in the talks but it has been a votary of open borders.