India ready to trade with Pak through Jehlum valley

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{image-Jehlum valley_18082008.jpg}Srinagar, Aug 18: Appealing to people not to get influenced by misleading propaganda, a Jammu and Kashmir government spokesperson said on Monday, Aug 18 India still awaits Pakistan's response to start trade on Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road.

He said efforts had been made by some elements to try and project that there have been delays on the part of the Government of India in the process of commencement of cross Line of Control (LoC) trade. ''However, the facts are otherwise, and Government of India has been assiduously pursuing the matter,'' he said and added in fact, India has suggested further cross LoC Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) which will continue to be pursued with Pakistan.

It may be recalled that senior Hurriyat leader Sheikh Abdul Aziz and several others were killed when police opened fire during Muzaffarabad march on August 11. The Hurriyat demanded opening of the road following alleged economic blockade and attack on Kashmiri drivers in Jammu.

The spokesman said it is hoped that the people in Jammu and Kashmir, and particularly the Kashmir valley, do not allow themselves to be influenced by misleading propaganda, and in that context, allow themselves to get involved in activities which have disrupted the peace and normalcy of the state, the daily lives of the people including the education of the children, supplies of basic day to day commodities, normal business and other activities, particularly, tourism which is one of the mainstays of the economy of the state.

For the last several days there have been reports in the media, and statements attributed to various people, particularly in the state that on account of the alleged ''economic blockade'' of the Kashmir Valley, the route to Muzaffarabad, across the Line of Control (LoC), should be opened for trade.
Particular emphasis has been given in this context to the transportation of fruits from the Kashmir Valley to the rest of the country, and to alleged shortages of essential commodities in the State. In the process elements who have been opposed to normalisation of the situation in the sensitive state, have also got an opportunity to misguide the people.

However, he said, in the wake of the recent agitation pertaining to the controversy around land for facilities for Amarnath Yatris, there had been some disruptions of movement along the national highway. Not only have these disruptions been cleared, but it has also been categorically stated that free movement along the national highway will be ensured.

In fact there have been no bottlenecks ever since some initial disruptions were there for three-four days. Unfortunately, due to calls for bandhs and other protests in the Kashmir valley, despite the fact that the highway is through, there have been difficulties in the full and free movement of goods and traffic. At the same time the situation is being exploited to raise demands and slogans for opening the cross LoC route for trade and movement of goods.

He said as a part of the Composite Dialogue with Pakistan, and CBMs, inter alia, the Government of India has taken the initiative to facilitate travel of people across the LoC along the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalakot routes.


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