‘Manmohan Wants Open Pak-India Border’

1 November 2009
Daily Times
Iftikhar Gilani

New Delhi: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh envisages open borders between India and Pakistan, former Indian-held Kashmir (IHK) deputy chief minister Muzaffar Hussain Beg said on Sunday. Addressing a seminar, Beg said when a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) delegation called on Singh during his Srinagar visit, the prime minister shared his vision of “soft and open” borders between India and Pakistan, just like between the US and Canada. “I want free borders like the US and Canada, where there is no need of an army,” Beg quoted Singh as telling the delegation. Earlier, speakers including PDP patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, President Mehbooba Mufti and jurist AG Noorani, asked for an immediate resolution of the Kashmir issue, calling it the “greatest threat to peace in South Asia”. Beg proposed making Kashmir a “free economic zone” so that the process of evolving the South Asian union as envisaged in the SAARC charter could begin. He claimed that the Indian prime minister had reacted favourably to the proposal. Noorani claimed that India and Pakistan had already reached an agreement on Kashmir on the basis of former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf’s four-point formula. He said the self-rule document, as presented by the PDP, was an “imaginative” and “creative” proposal to settle the Kashmir issue. Noorani also asked Kashmiri leaders to understand Singh’s position, who was “fighting a tough battle within his own party and within the cabinet” to settle issues with Pakistan.