Tuesday, May 13, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Mufti for ‘softening’ of LoC
Tribune News Service and Agencies

New Delhi, May 12
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed today said "softening" of Line of Control between India and Pakistan would be the biggest confidence building measure as it had a bearing on the divided families of the state.

"When opening of entry points in Rajasthan can be considered on the plea that it is closer to Sindh province to facilitate the visits of Sindhis on both sides, what is the harm if similar facility is also considered for divided families of Jammu and Kashmir", he said while talking to newspersons after meeting Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani here.

Mr Sayeed laid stress on early finalisation of the report for creating one lakh jobs in Jammu and Kashmir youths in two years.

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, during his visit to the Valley in April, had announced an economic package which entailed jobs for one lakh youth in two years. The Chief Minister was told that the package was being monitored by the Cabinet Secretary.

During the 30-minute meeting, Mr Sayeed sought the Centre’s help in supplementing the efforts of the state government to revive tourism. He urged Mr Advani to issue a directive to all the central and semi-government organisations to consider Kashmir as a venue for their annual conferences.

Later talking to mediapersons, Mr Sayeed said that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir was changing as people were longing for peace. “Thirteen years of bloodshed has dawned a realisation among people that gun cannot solve any problem. They are hoping that the peace initiative taken by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to normalise relations with Pakistan will succeed,’’ he said.

Asked about the Pakistan Prime Minister’s utterances on Kashmir, Mr Sayeed said the two countries have declared stands on certain issues. Notwithstanding these declared stands, the Centre has expressed willingness to discuss all bilateral issues to normalise ties with Pakistan, he said.

Mr Sayeed also met Information, Technology and Communications Minister Arun Shourie and discussed the issue of providing mobile telephony in the state.

After a 20-minute meeting, Mr Shourie admitted that security agencies had some concerns about providing the facility in the state.

Among other issues discussed by the Chief Minister were holding of an IT conference in the state. Mr Sayeed also asked for speedy implementation of Internet technology projects at the block level.

The Chief Minister also called on the President, Mr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, at Rashtrapati Bhawan this afternoon. A state government spokesman described it as a “courtesy call.”

Mr Sayeed, who is on a three-day visit to the Capital, will participate in the Inter-State Council meeting scheduled to be held on Tuesday.

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