Pak Afraid Of Opening Road Links To PoK: Mu
7 November 2003
The Times of India
Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohd Sayeed on Friday said Pakistani leadership was afraid of opening road links between Srinagar and Pakistan occupied Kashmir as it would 'expose' the neighbouring country's propaganda. Addressing a public meeting, he said Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's 12-point peace package 'is a historic opportunity to Pakistan to restore peace and they must seize it for lasting peace in the region.' The chief minister said Pakistan has principally agreed to India's proposal for road link between Uri and Muzaffarabad but has put a rider which is not acceptable. 'Pakistan seems to be afraid of restoration of the road links. Obviously, when the people across the border will come here to meet their relations, they will see the ground realities of our vibrant democracy in Jammu and Kashmir which would defeat the Pakistani propaganda,' he said. Sayeed said the Prime Minister's proposal to operate bus service from Uri to Muzaffarabad is the biggest confidence building measure and it would help in connecting the hearts of people of both sides. A similar road link between Suchetgarh to Sialkote needs to be restored for the convenience of the people of both the sides, he said. On Centre's offer of dialogue with separatist groups, Sayeed said talks should be held with everyone and not confined to a particular group. The chief minister said the government would set up two divisional level committees to inquire into cases of alleged human rights violations, but also criticised those who only point out lapses of security forces. 'Why do they remain silent on the atrocities of the militants,' he asked. Justifying his government's efforts to restore peace through various measures, including the 'healing touch' process, Sayeed said the BJP- led NDA government and other major political parties like Congress and CPI-M endorsed its stand in dealing with the situation. 'The Centre knows that our government is working to bring justice to all in the state' and had provided liberal funds, he said. On achievements of his government after one year in office, Sayeed said 'one year's period is not enough and the government has no magic wand to solve everything.' Yet, the government achieved a lot in education, healthcare and restoration of confidence among the people 'who move now freely even during the nights in Kashmir Valley,' Sayeed said. He said there were some forces trying to create disturbances and disturb peace in Jammu. 'However, our efforts will continue to create peace throughout the state,' he said. On Opposition parties' charge of discrimination against some regions, Sayeed said allocation of Rs 446 crore was made for Jammu division as against Rs 497 crore for Kashmir division, including Ladakh. He said Rs 1,700 crore investment was being made in Jammu division for setting up industries and Rs 50 crore disbursed among families affected by border shelling. The meeting was also addressed by Deputy Chief Minister Mangat Ram Sharma and other senior ministers.