PDP decides to join Muzaffarabad march

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Srinagar, Aug 10 (UNI) The People's Democratic Party (PDP) has decided to join the march to Muzaffarabad tomorrow, a call for which has been given by Fruit Growers Association.

Announcing this here today, the party President Mehbooba Mufti said PDP would fully participate in the march. She said the party workers and sympathisers would be led by senior leaders Abdul Aziz Zargar and Mohammad Dilawar Mir and they would constitute a part of the main caravan.

Ms Mufti reiterated the urgency of fully operationalising the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad Road for passenger and goods traffic.

She said the economic blockade enforced by communal and fascist forces in Jammu and other parts of the country against Kashmiris only underscored the importance of this vital road for the survival of the economy.

Ms Mufti said PDP has all along been stressing the need for reopening of all traditional routes that offered Kashmir an unlimited access to the outside world.

The denial of this access over the past sixty years has acted as a severe constraint on the growth of the state -- on economic and social front -- she said and added that the march should be seen as the assertion of Kashmir's inalienable right to trade and travel without restrictions.

PDP, Ms Mufti said, had effectively brought the need for opening up of Kashmir on the centre stage and some success in the shape of Srinagar-Muzaffarabad Bus service owed itself to the leadership of this party and the sacrifices of its cadres.

Paying tribute to the martyrs, who sacrificed their lives at Uri on April 7th 2004 when PDP launched its first march in support of the demand to open the highway, she said it is time that the two parts of the state are now reunited for ushering in a new era of peace and progress in the region.

PDP president said opening up of the road between Muzaffarabad and Srinagar along with other links like Suchetgarh-Sialkote, Rawlakot-Pooch and Kargil-Skardu offered a win-win opportunity to India, Pakistan and the people of the state.

The two governments, she said could dither on this burning issue only at a heavy price to the peace process.

She said the Indo-Pak dialogue must now zero in on this subject with speed and focus as the situation cannot brook any further delay in restoring regular passenger and goods traffic on the road in view of the emerging scenario in Jammu.

Even otherwise, Mehbooba said, the inability to upgrade the existing link between Srinagar and Jammu to decent Highway standards which could cater to increased economic and infrastructural requirements underlined the need to use Muzaffarabad Road. The Jammu highway is now a virtual nightmare for drivers and failure to link it with the North-South Corridor that ominously stops at Jammu tells its own story of the ''special treatment'' to Kashmir.


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