Published On:September 30 2008
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Leaders appreciate trans-kashmir trade

Muzaffarabad: Kashmiri leaders in Azad Kashmir have appreciated the resumption of the stalled composite dialogue between India and Pakistan by launching trans-Kashmir trade and terming this initiative a good omen for confidence building measures (CBMs).

These steps would not overshadow the main issue of right of self-determination for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Besides enhancing economic co-operation and people-to-people contacts, the leaders hoped that two nations would take tangible measures to address the core issue keeping in view the aspirations of Kashmiri people.

Moreover, he said that launching trans-Kashmir trade intended to bolster the normalisation process between the two countries was a healthy development on the part of two leaders.

'We have been supporting people-to-people contacts from the very beginning and the opening the cease-fire line for trade. Generating economic activity in the region would eventually help ensure peace besides resolving the issue simultaneously,' he said.

APHC leaders, Mehmood Ahmed Saghar and Professor Muhammad Ashraf Saraf, said, 'This is good to witness that both the South Asian leaders expressed their optimism to resume dialogue and decided to start trans-Kashmir trade between Srinagar and Muazaffarabad and other routes also connecting the two parts of divided Kashmir.'

'In view of the recent economic blockade, the initiative is a positive move but it should not overshadow the real issue. The opening of the trade routes has been one of our key demands but the Kashmiris' main demand is to seek the settlement of Kashmir dispute in line with the international covenants', Saghar said.

'Making the divided state as a unified economic territory is apparently a fascinating move but it should not be more complicated than the trade between the two countries rather there should be very simple procedure so that people can explore opportunities of economic prosperity without any impediments, adding that this will help create an amiable environment by diminishing the hate syndrome and mistrust between the two countries that would help achieve end goal,' Professor Saraf added.

He was of the view that there should be tax-free business activity on both sides and if tax was imposed it would change the international posture of the Kashmir issue and it would be tantamount to internationalise the LoC and Kashmiris would never allow such things to happen.

Regarding Zardari's pledge to support Kashmiris' struggle he said, 'there has always been a clear stance of the government of Pakistan for providing moral, political and diplomatic support to Kashmir cause but after assuming the highest office Kashmiris hope that president would play a key role in resolving the dispute keeping in view the aspirations of Kashmiri people.'

Expressing dismay over the recent developments, the JKLF supreme head, Amanullah Khan, said, 'We are not satisfied with the pronouncements made by the leadership of India and Pakistan, It would have adverse effect on Kashmiris' freedom struggle as the statements made no mention of the Kashmiris' inalienable right of self-determination'.

He underscored that both states should fulfil their commitments by allowing the people to have their right to choose their political destiny, adding that we don't support any move on the part of two nations wherein the Kashmiris' birth right is ignored. The chairman of Peoples' Party AJK, Sardar Khalid Ibrahim Khan, said, 'There is nothing new, instead, Zardari had opted to go on the beaten tracks'. 'They have agreed to follow the previous government's policy on Kashmir, wherein nothing is going to happen in favour of Kashmiris.

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