February 2008 News

Pak Situation Hampering Peace Process With India: Azad

15 February 2008
Kashmir Observer

Poonch: Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has said that the path of reconciliation adopted by India and Pakistan was in the best interests of people of the two countries, adding but for recent developments in the neighbouring country much headway would have been made by now in bringing about complete amity and peace. He hoped that the situation in Pakistan would soon improve enabling the two countries to take the process of dialogue forward. The Chief Minister was addressing a largely attended function after launching the e- learning course for women here today. With this, the Poonch campus of Jammu University has formally started functioning. The new university campus had been announced by Mr. Azad five months ago at a function in this border town. To begin with, sixteen girls have been given admission to the course started in the local Government Degree College . The Chief Minister said that the developments in Pakistan during the past about a year had slowed down the peace process before which the relations between the two countries had improved significantly. He said if the process had moved forward as was envisaged by the leaders on both sides, the situation by now would have seen several exchanges of traders, businessmen and media persons across the LoC. He said students from PoK would also have been coming here to pursue studies. He said the historic developments like the opening of cross LoC Poonch-Rawlakote and Uri- Muzaffarabad roads were made possible by the will on both sides to improve mutual relations. He said this had resulted in peace on the borders and an atmosphere of goodwill and cordiality imperative for development and progress in the region. He hoped that the general elections being held in the neighbouring country two days later would pave way for the stalled peace process to gain momentum. Mr. Azad said that Poonch enjoyed a pride of place before 1947. He said being a border district the people here have suffered the hostility between India and Pakistan over the past decades. However, he said, given the atmosphere of cordiality for the last five years, people in Poonch as in other border areas, were living a peaceful life. He said his government was working on a strategy to change the profile of distantly located and neglected areas like Poonch. He said development schemes had been taken up to build and upgrade infrastructure in roads, healthcare, education, water and power supply, tourism and other amenities. Making a special mention of the development in education sector, the Chief Minister said that the coalition government had opened and upgraded thousands of schools across the State during the past five years. He said a record number of 40 new degree colleges were opened to facilitate students of far–flung areas pursue higher studies. He said university campuses were also opened to bring university education to the doorsteps of students in remote areas. He said the present era being of merit and excellence, the students should work hard to compete in securing good jobs. The Chief Minister said the land for the university campus at Poonch had been identified and construction work would start soon. He said the e-learning course started today in the degree college would be shifted to the DIET building vacated by the security forces till the new campus infrastructure was ready. The vacated DIET building was being handed over to the Jammu University for renovation and setting up of labs and other required infrastructure following which MBA and MCA courses would be started here. He said emphasis was on introducing subjects with demand in the job market.

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