Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today expressed hope that peace and friendship between India and Pakistan would finally triumph over acrimony and confrontation between the two neighboring countries. She exhibited hope that the ambit of cross-LoC trade and travel activities would be further expanded so that there was more exchange of people and goods. Interacting with mediapersons after visiting Trade Facilitation Centre (TFC), Salamabad and Kaman Post here, the chief minister described poverty, unemployment and corruption as the “biggest enemies” of the people of the two countries and suggested pooling of resources by the two nations in fighting these menaces.
She said it was a fact that borders cannot be redrawn but they could certainly be made irrelevant with frequent exchange of people, students, artists and other groups of people. Expressing dismay over recurrent flare-ups along the LoC, the chief minister said unfortunately, the people of Jammu and Kashmir were the worst sufferers of this hostility as they had to live under perpetual threat to their lives and property. She said the only way to prevent the loss of lives and destruction of property and ensure peace along the borders was to revive the spirit of the 2003 ceasefire which had brought new hope of peace and prosperity in the lives of the people along the borders from Kathua to Kargil.
Advocating opening of more traditional routes along the LoC, Mehbooba said with this the people on the two sides would come closer to each other, understand each others’ problems better which ultimately would lead to lowering of tensions and violence which has plagued the state for a long time now. The chief minister said cross-LoC travel and trade was not coined and piloted as an isolated facility but to bring the people on the two sides of the divide closer and open a new chapter of friendship and working together.
She hoped that the ambit of the cross-LoC trade would be expanded further to get the two people understand each other better. Earlier, the chief minister visited various areas of the Kaman Post like passenger arrival and custom clearance. She was briefed about the passenger arrivals and daily activities at the Kaman Post by the officers there.
The chief minister also laid the foundation of Tourist Facilitation Centre at Salamabad which, on completion, would have state-of-the-art guest house, restaurant, craft shop and an amusement park. The project was expected to be completed by the end of next year and it would provide luxury boarding and lodging facilities on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road.
The chief minister also had a detailed meeting with a group of cross LoC traders. Mehbooba directed removal of all bottlenecks coming in the smooth way of operating the trade across LoC. She directed creation of a single window clearance mechanism for addressing the needs of traders so that they do not have to go from one office to another for redressal of their issues. In a specific direction, the chief minister directed taking steps so that concessions to cross LoC trade were extended under GST. She also directed deployment of adequate manpower at the TFC, Salamabad for efficient service delivery. She assured the traders that her government would take all necessary steps which would ease their business activities at the TFC and instill confidence among them.