Trade to POK and Pakistan through J

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Srinagar, Apr 13 (UNI) Calling for converting Jammu and Kashmir into an Area of Free Trade and Movement, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti today expressed the hope that India and Pakistan would finalise the modalities for cross-LoC trade soon.

''I am sure that during the upcoming Indo-Pak composite dialogue process, the modalities of cross-LoC trade would be finalised and trucks would start rolling on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road anytime,'' she said at a party convention in north Kashmir.

Ms Mehboboa said during her recent visit to Pakistan she was assured by the political leadership there that cross-LoC trade through Jammu and Kashmir would be facilitated by this year.

She said the government of India was also committed at the highest level to facilitate cross-LoC trade through this state.

Ms Mufti said PDP had suggested a two-tier mechanism to make the process of cross-LoC cooperation more comprehensive and result- oriented.

''While at one level India and Pakistan would sort out the issues at the bilateral level, setting up of an intra-Jammu and Kashmir Regional Council involving elected representatives from both the sides could identify the areas for mutual cooperation to facilitate free flow of people, goods, ideas, services and cultures between the two parts of Kashmir,'' she said.

She said such an arrangement could eventually lead to transforming Jammu and Kashmir into a politically stable and economically vibrant entity.

She added it was because of the historic policies of PDP that the mainstream parties, who were otherwise perceived as adversaries, started regaining legitimacy and credibility as proponents of the Kashmir resolution process, not only within the State, but across the border as well.

Ms Mufti said people from all the sections of the society have, sometimes at the risk of their lives, contributed in this endeavor of peace that had now started rejuvenating Jammu and Kashmir to its traditional glory.

'' The turn-around in the situation that we see in the situation, would not have been possible without the desire and cooperation of the people,'' she said.

UNI BAS JT AS2244

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