Mufti cautions against slow peace process
Takes Dig At Omar For Comparing Cross-LoC Trade With Wagah, Sikkim
GK NEWS NETWORK
Jammu, Apr 6: Expressing deep concern at the ‘lack of progress’ on taking forward the cross-LOC trade and travel process, Peoples Democratic Party patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed today cautioned leadership of India and Pakistan against the serious pitfalls that could result from it.
“Credibility of the entire peace process is at stake and unless the two governments come over the hawkish elements in each country to implement major decisions taken by them the painstakingly built effort could breed renewed cynicism in the state with serious implications”, Sayeed said while addressing a gathering of people from Hiranagar, who joined PDP under the leadership of prominent Dalit leader Suraj Prakash here today, according to a party statement.
Taking dig at Chief Minister Omar Abdullah for his recent statement comparing the cross-LoC trade with business transactions through Wagah and Sikkim, the PDP Patron said that the National Conference leadership seems to be ignorant about the basic trade model which has been accepted as trade within the state. “It is not a trade between the two countries but between the businessmen of divided Jammu and Kashmir as such there is no levy of tax or export charges over it”, he said.
With naming anyone, Mufti said it was good that even those who had been deriding the campaign for opening of roads across LOC were now speaking for the process. “However, those people should not complicate the matter further by comparing it with trade at Wagah or Sikkim”, he said adding, “The context of trade and travel across LOC is totally different as we want it to flourish within the already established system so that it can address the peculiar political, social and cultural dimensions of J&K’s problems”.
The inability of the present dispensation in the state to appreciate this perspective, he said, could cause serious setback to the process of resolution. He said there was an urgent need to provide proper banking and communication back up for the trade to flourish without any attempt to fiddle with its basic character.
PDP Patron told the gathering, on the eve of the seventh anniversary of the launch of historic Karvan-e-Amn between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad, that the bus service between the two halves of the state was started after 58 years by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi from Srinagar on April 7, 2005 to facilitate the coming together of divided families, with a vision to extend it into regular travel and break the decades long siege around the state.
Mufti said it was sad that the governments of India and Pakistan had failed to implement the decisions taken by their foreign ministers more than a year back to carry forward the original vision of bringing the two sides closer through trade, travel, joint ventures and cultural exchanges.
He said there was no reason as to why the two governments should take so long to implement the decision to open more routes in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions, increase bus frequency, remove hassles in providing permits and more importantly extend the facility to all categories for tourism and pilgrimage purposes. “It is time the implementation of these decisions is fast tracked if the dividends of peace process are to last and reach the common man to build permanent stakes in peace and friendly relations,” he said and asked the national leadership “not to test the patience of the people of the state.”
Referring to the situation that prevailed in the state when the present peace process was launched by Atal Behari Vajpayee, Mufti said it had proved to be the most sustainable effort in the unhappy relationship between India and Pakistan only because it was primarily driven by the desire for peaceful resolution of the people of state. “Vajpayee picked up the vibes from Srinagar correctly and embarked on a bold process amid clouds of war and the initial support it received from the UPA leadership broke the hardened mindsets of the security establishments which had held the state hostage for decades,” he said and called for employing similar statesmanship by the leadership to take it out of the groove it apparently has gone into. He said the tardy implementation of decisions could cause serious disillusionment among the people of the state who had started feeling its benefits even though in very small measure yet.
Mufti said lifting the siege around the three regions of the state is an important element in making the resolution process meaningful. He said the trade across LOC is not just about exchanging ‘potatoes for pulses’ but it has an important historic, cultural and economic perspective. “PDP wants opening up of all traditional routes through Kashmir, Jammu, Ladakh and Kargil regions and lifting curbs on travel and trade to create an Economic Free Zone (EFC) across the state that with its tremendous natural resources could become one of the most affluent regions of the country,” he maintained. He said major hurdles had been crossed in this process by conceding important principles like travel on permits instead of passport and visa and trade without custom duties and it needed only fine tuning now in terms of the decisions taken by foreign ministers last year.
Former Minister and general secretary of PDP, Muhammad Dilawar Mir, Thakur Balbir Singh general secretary and former Minister and MLA Bijbehara Abdul Rehman Veeri also addressed the gathering.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 6 Apr 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 6 Apr 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 7 Apr 2012 00:00:00 IST
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