Open Muzaffarabad road for trucks: Mehbooba to India, Pakistan

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Srinagar, Oct 20 (UNI) Peoples Democratic Party's (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti today urged both India and Pakistan to facilitate the much-awaited movement of trucks on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad at the earliest.

Welcoming the finalisation of items by New Delhi and Islamabad for trade across the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir, she said there should be no problem now, in allowing movement of goods on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road.

In a statement here, Ms Mufti said after reopening of Srinagar- Muzaffarabad highway for the divided families, the people of Jammu and Kashmir were eagerly looking ahead for free movement of goods on this historic road. Such a step would be a key confidence building measure for the people of the state, she added.

''The initiative must not be restricted to Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road only, but all traditional routes like Suchetgarh-Sialkote, Kargil-Skardu, Bandipora-Gurez-Gilgit, Nowshehra-Mirpur and Poonch-Rawalakote roads. These must be thrown open for free movement of people and goods,'' the PDP chief said.

She said the export of products such as carpets, furniture, silk, fruits, spices, aromatic plants, pulses, saffron and basmati rice through the LoC, would contribute immensely to the economic growth of the state. ''I am sure with the passage of time, more items would be added to the list,'' Ms Mufti added.

She said Jammu and Kashmir's past was a vivid version of today's Free Trade Zone, which unfortunately degenerated into a dead end following the 1947 upheaval.

Ms Mufti said the PDP's vision of a politically stable and economically vibrant Jammu and Kashmir was founded primarily on the liberty of its people to travel in the global village with no restrictions on the immediate neighborhood.

''In its ultimate form of liberalisation, we would like a bus ticket to serve as the passport and visa to travel into any part of the erstwhile State and beyond,'' she added.

This liberty to travel was linked with the economic future of the state in a significant manner, the PDP president said.

She said the removal of restrictions on travel for the people of Jammu and Kashmir in their neighborhood would significantly remove the restrictions on the economic growth of the state.

UNI

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