Kashmir initiative: Opening of trade route to Muzaffarabad

3 September 2008
The Hindustan Times
Arun Joshi

Jammu: After the Amarnath land deal with Jammu agitators, the government's next step could be the opening of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad trade route to get the Valley separatists on board. And it may happen as early as in October. Sources said it is seen an Id gift for the people of the state. The holy month of Ramzan has begun on Tuesday and Id-ul-Fitr falls at the end of this holy month of fasting. From the separatist leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq to major mainstream parties the National Conference, Congress and the PDP have been advocating for it and impressed upon Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that positive action should be taken on the issue as soon as possible. National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah and PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed made this plea to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at a meeting last week. Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee was also present at the meeting. Omar said, The governments in Delhi and Islamabad should do it sooner than later. There is a possibility of a unilateral announcement as well, a Srinagar- based daily, Greater Kashmir, said, quoting Union Water Resources Minister Saifuddin Soz. The end of the alleged economic siege can help improve the situation here in the Valley, too, and the opening of the cross-LoC route could make a difference, said Tahir Mohi-ud-Din, editor of Chattan, a widely circulated weekly Urdu paper.