J-K CM wants more India and Pakistan border routes to be opened

Jammu, Dec 17: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday said that more border routes should be opened between India and Pakistan.

India and Pakistan sealed an agreement to ease tough visa restrictions for travellers on Friday as the nuclear-armed neighbours move slowly to rebuild relations that soured in 2008 when Pakistani militants attacked India’s financial capital.

The accord was signed by Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde and his Pakistani counterpart Rehman Malik.

While commenting on the remark made by separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who also called for more border routes, Abdullah said that his government had always maintained the same stance.

“Some time back Farooq Abdullah had also said that, if nothing else, the Line of Control (LoC) should be deemed permanent and hence made irrelevant so that people can move across easily.

“Even we are making the same attempt and since the borders between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad, Poonch and Rawalakot have been opened, on the same lines more routes can be and should be opened, like from Jammu or from Kargil to Skardu. Many routes are there to be opened,” said Abdullah.

The change will permit visitors to travel to five places now instead of three and some businessmen will get multiple-entry visas, exempting them from reporting to the police.

Despite thousands of years of shared heritage, India and Pakistan have tense relations – a legacy of three wars since their independence from Britain in 1947.

The two governments agreed to relax visa rules in principle in September, when former Indian foreign minister SM Krishna visited Islamabad. (ANI)