Mirwaiz For Reviving Kashmir's Traditional Connectivity

6 March 2015
Greater Kashmir
Abid Bashir

Srinagar: Stating that Kashmir was much better in terms of connectivity in 1947, chairman Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq Friday said the region is deliberately being isolated and its resources choked 'under a well-planned conspiracy to make it further dependent.' He also said Hurriyat will devise a strategy to ensure all the traditional routes are restored as the step will pave way for the state's economic independence which would later lead to political settlement of the issue. Addressing Friday congregation at historic Jamia Masjid here, Mirwaiz said Kashmir being a hilly region gets snow and rainfall for six months. 'Unfortunately, all previous regimes that ruled the state since 1947 did nothing except raising hollow slogans of Naya Kashmir. Nothing was done to improve the road and air connectivity of the state over the past 60 years,' Mirwaiz said. He said when rest of the countries and regions across the globe are prospering amid economic boom with the help of road and air-connectivity after exploring new road-links, Kashmir has been plunged back to the stone-age. 'In 1947, Kashmir had much better road connectivity as we were connected to South and Central Asia through historic Silk route. Soon after the independence of India and Pakistan, Kashmir's ancient road links were closed and the region was left to suffer,' he said. 'I believe this was done deliberately under a well-planned conspiracy to make the region further dependent on New Delhi.' He said a few days of rain and a few inches of snow results in the closure of only surface link connecting Kashmir with the rest of the world- Srinagar Jammu highway leaving the people of Kashmir 'literally starved'. 'Thousands of passengers are stranded on the highway without food and shelter,' Mirwaiz said. He said the airlines are taking the undue advantage of the situation by raising air-fares. 'I was shocked to see Srinagar-Jammu air-travel costs Rs 22000. A few inches of snow makes entire administration defunct. This is happening at a time when counties across the globe are coming closer through easy travel,' he said. Mirwaiz said that Srinagar-Jammu highway was an 'unnatural route.' 'India and Pakistan must take steps to throw open Rawalpindi route and other ancient road links that used to connect Kashmir with rest of the countries like China, Europe and Afghanistan,' he said. Mirwaiz said that Kashmir was a bridge between SAARC countries before as is evident by the coins used for business activities which are preserved at the SPS Museum here. 'Today, just a few day of rain puts people to starvation as all the essential things vanish and a drought like situation emerges,' he said. He said that the revered Sufi saint Mir Syed Ali Hamadani (RA) also had preferred Silk route to reach Kashmir from Tajikistan. 'Due to the lack of road connectivity with rest of the world, Kashmir's economy has badly suffered over the past six decades,' he said. 'It is high time to revive Silk route so that Kashmir could once again emerge as a commercial hub. The step of restoration of historic routes will lead to economic freedom which would ultimately lead to final political settlement of the Kashmir issue. This is the Hurriyat's policy.' Welcoming the foreign secretary level talks between India and Pakistan, Mirwaiz said the two countries must take steps to re-open Kashmir's traditional routes. 'We would provide full support to both the countries for finding a solution to Kashmir issue. We believe the issues can be resolved through dialogue and not war,' he said.