Omar for opening of Jammu-Sialkot road

‘Will Take Up Issue With Centre’


Jammu, Nov 8: In a significant development, the Jammu and Kashmir government has sought opening of Jammu-Sialkote road for cross border trade and travel between India and Pakistan.
“I would recommend opening of Jammu-Sialkote route for travel and trade to the Central Government so that it takes up this issue with Pakistan to initiate yet another important Confidence Building Measure (CBM),” Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said on Thursday.
The opening of the route has been one of the key demands of the previous state government and both India and Pakistan had at least three unsuccessful rounds of talks over the issue in the past.
The road is an important link with regard to trade transaction, economy and divided families with its neighboring regions–Punjab (Pakistan), Mirpur and Muzaffarabad on the other side of border.
Responding to a demand made to this effect by the Federation of Industries Jammu at its meeting with the Chief Minister here today, the Chief Minister said that opening of this route for travel and trade would not only enhance people-to-people contact but give considerable fillip to the trade activities.
Omar said that while issues of opening of other routes and trade points across LoC figure in the priority list of his government, he would advocate opening of Jammu-Sailkote travel and trade point on the International Border. He said it would prove highly beneficial for the people of Jammu and Kashmir to travel and undertake various economic activities.
The route is presently intact and is being used by United Nation Observers to travel across the border. The historic Octroi Post in RS Pura sector divides the road between the two countries and from there Sialkote is only 11 kilometers away.
The road had existed before 1947 and there was even a railway line from Lahore to Jammu.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, during his visit to Kashmir in 2005, had also announced that talks were on between New Delhi and Islamabad about opening of a Jammu-Sialkot highway.
The Chief Minister further said that the banking facilities for LoC trade and enhancing the list of tradable items have already been taken up with the Central Government.
He said that these are the issues to be mutually agreed by the two countries. He expressed hope that the relations between the two neighbours will improve further and trade and travel activities would enhance.

Lastupdate on : Thu, 8 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 8 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 9 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST

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