Pak may present fresh proposals on Kashmir

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{image-kashmir issueloc_20052008.jpg}Islamabad, May 20: Pakistan may come up with a set of fresh proposals on Kashmir when Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee meets his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmoud Qureshi here tomorrow to begin the fifth round of the Composite Dialogue Process (CDP), reports said here today.

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf had earlier presented a four-point formula to resolve the Kashmir problem which included phased withdrawal of troops from Kashmir, local self government and joint supervision. However, the newly-elected government was not keen on carrying forward the Musharraf formula and would present a new set of proposals, the reports said. The External Affairs Minister would meet the Pakistan Foreign Minister here tomorrow, taking the CDP forward into the fifth round. The reports said the two Ministers are also likely to reach some agreement on prisoner exchange. India released 14 Pakistan fishermen on Saturday and handed them over to the Pakistani authorities at Wagah.

Liberalisation of visa regime might also be discussed, the reports said. The two Ministers are also likely to discuss finalisation of trade across the Line of Control (LoC) by allowing truck service on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route. This would be the first contact between India and the new government in Pakistan after the elections here in February.

India has already made arrangements and built infrastructure for the operationalisation of the truck service, a long pending demand of the business communities from both sides of the divide. Godowns and the customs office have been constructed on this side of the LoC. Double-laning of the road stretch between Baramulla and the Kaman Post near the LoC had also been completed.

The truck service between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad had been delayed due to lack of adequate response from Pakistan, mainly because of the internal political developments in Pakistan.

The cross-border bus service, named as Karvaan-e-Aman (Caravan of Peace), was launched by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi from Srinagar on April 7, 2005, after nearly 58 years following an agreement between India and Pakistan to allow families, separated since 1947, to meet each other.

The 170-km Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road, also known as Jhelum Valley road was closed for traffic on October 27, 1947, when 'Kabailis (tribesmen)' invaded parts of Jammu and Kashmir, which later came to be known as PoK.


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