Mufti For Opening Traditional Routes8 July 2011
Rajouri: Reiterating resolve of his party to open all traditional routes connecting Jammu and Kashmir with rest of the world, former Chief Minister and patron of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Mufti Muhammad Sayeed today said that self rule document of his party was aimed at negating negative effects of the partition. Addressing a public meeting here Mufti said that partition had plugged all traditional routes which earlier connected JK with rest of the world. “Opening of all traditional routes through Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh would help the state in harnessing its inherent potential as a business centre as it was before 1947,” Mufti said and added that socio-economic growth of the state has been restricted after the partition due to plugging of all routes.” The self rule aimed at creating JK as a bridge between India and Pakistan and both the countries would offer tariff reductions and develop this belt as Free Trade zone. Development of this area as free trade zone would attract maximum foreign direct investment, he observed. Former Chief Minister termed opening of crossing points on LoC as biggest Confidence Building Measures (CBM) taken during the PDP-Congress regime but hastened to add that the since formation of the present regime no step has been taken to facilitate free movement of people from both sides of the LoC. “The facility of visiting both sides of LoC should be extended beyond the divided families to common citizens of the two sides”, he emphasized. He also demanded opening of Chhamb Jourian-Mirpur, Nowshere-Mirpur-Kotli and Teetwal-Chilhan routes and other routes to exploit the full potential of this region. PDP patron also emphasized on expanding the scope of trans LoC trade and travel. He argued that to make the historic 2005 initiatives more meaningful it is necessary to remove the hassles in the movement of goods and passengers. Pointing towards backwardness of twin border districts of Poonch and Rajouri, Mufti regretted that except getting votes of the people successive National Conference regimes have done nothing to accelerate development in this region. “During PDP-Congress regime special emphasized was laid on the upliftment and development of this region”, he said and reminded that exclusive funds were sanctioned for the completion of the historic Mughal road project, which according to him, would change fate of the people of Poonch and Rajouri. He reminded that gathering that it was during the PDP-Congress regime that Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University was established in Rajouri. Sayeed said that during PDP-Congress regime a comprehensive programme was formulated and implemented for the development of this backward region. “In our tenure we had initiated many steps for the development of backward regions and sub-regions”, he said. PDP patron, while pointing towards recently held Panchayat elections, said that 70 percent of Panchayat members are belong to PDP. “To the undermine the credibility of Panchayati Raj institution the National Conference regime has been trying to lure the newly elected Panchayat members”, he observed but warned that such attempt of the government would be proved disastrous for the democracy.