Mehbooba backs Musharraf's Kashmir policy

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Islamabad, April 2 (UNI) Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti asked the new government in Pakistan to continue with President General (retd) Pervez Musharraf's Kashmir policy as ''this was not his personal policy and provided Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) to the people of Kashmir.

Speaking on 'The Peace Process and Kashmir issue' organised yesterday, she said President Musharraf ardently pursued the peace process with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that was initiated by earlier governments.

''I am sure that the spirit would continue with the new Government assuming office in Islamabad,'' she added.

Ms Mufti said the Jammu and Kashmir -specific Confidence Building Measures should further be strengthened by allowing greater movement of people and goods across the Line of Control.

In this regard India had started allowing Kashmiris to travel through LoC on permits and not passport. ''New Delhi has also started the process of relocating the troops from the civilian areas,'' she said.

Stressing the importance of trade and the difference this would make to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, the PDP president said Kashmir has age-old links with Pakistan, Iran, China and the Central Asian Republics. She demanded that the roads leading into these areas should be re-opened for the people of the State so that they could have access of movement and trade with their neighbours.

Ms Mufti said President Musharaff's Kashmir policy was not an end in itself and certainly not the solution. ''Let us not look at the formulae as a solution. Kashmir is about meeting the aspirations of its people and all three parts of Kashmir have their own specific aspirations.'' UNI XC SYU KP2313

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