Mainstream PDP to join fruit-growers’ Muzaffarabad march

August 10th, 2008 - 7:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Aug 10 (IANS) The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Sunday announced it will join Monday’s march to Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, called by the separatist Hurriyat Conference and fruit growers here reeling under an “economic blockade”. The PDP would fully participate in the march, party president Mehbooba Mufti said here.

Party workers and sympathizers would be led by senior leaders and former ministers Abdul Aziz Zargar and Mohammad Dilawar Mir and they would constitute a part of the main caravan, she said.

Protesters in Jammu region, seeking revocation of a Jammu and Kashmir government order of July 1 cancelling allotment of land to the Amarnath shrine management, have blocked the Jammu-Srinagar highway at many places. As a results, fruits, the main produce of the Kashmir Valley, have been rotting away.

The fruit-growers’ association and the Hurriyat have given a call to march to Muzaffarabad with their produce.

Mehbooba Mufti reiterated the urgency to fully operationalise the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road for passenger and goods traffic. “The economic blockade enforced by communal and fascist forces in Jammu and other parts of the country against Kashmiris only underscores the importance of this vital road for our economic survival,” she said in a statement.

She said the PDP had all along been stressing the need for reopening all traditional routes that offered Kashmir an unlimited access to the outside world.

“The denial of this access over the past 60 years has acted as a severe constraint on the growth of the state on the economic and social front,” she said, adding that the march should be seen as the assertion of Kashmir’s inalienable right to trade and travel without restrictions.

She said her party had effectively brought to the centrestage the need for opening up of Kashmir and had some success in the form of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service.

Paying tributes to “the martyrs who sacrificed their lives at Uri on April 7, 2004, when the PDP launched its first march in support of the demand to open the highway”, she said it was high time the two parts of the state are reunited for ushering in a new era of peace and progress in the region.

The PDP president said opening up of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road along with other links like Suchetgarh-Sialkote, Rawlakot-Pooch and Kargil-Skardu offered a win-win opportunity to India, Pakistan and the people of the state.

“The two governments could dither on this burning issue only at a heavy price to the peace process,” she said.

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