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Mufti briefs PM, Advani

Onkar Singh in New Delhi | December 12, 2003 23:22 IST

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed on Friday called on Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and his deputy Lal Kishenchand Advani and discussed with them issues relating to the state.

The Mufti called on Vajpayee at his 7, Race Course Road residence in the evening, while he met Advani at his office in the morning.

Speaking to newsmen after his meeting with Vajpayee, the Mufti expressed hope that the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation meeting in Islamabad, which the PM would attend, would be a great success.

"I told Prime Minister Vajpayee about the resolution adopted by the entire Jammu and Kashmir assembly lauding his peace initiative," he said.

He expressed hope that the confidence building measures taken by India and Pakistan would help create a conducive atmosphere for talks.

"The stoppage of shelling on the International Border has come as a boon for people living in villages. Hundreds of innocents used to get killed in the shelling. We hope that when India and Pakistan meet they will discuss opening of Srinagar/Muzaffarabad and Suchetgarh/Sialkot routes for bus service to enable the people living in the border areas to see their loved ones," he said.

The Mufti said a ferry service between the two nations could wait for the time being.

Asked if the meeting between Advani and the All-Party Hurriyat Conference would take place before the SARRC meeting, he said, "It does not matter when the meeting takes place. Hurriyat leaders cannot afford to spurn the government's offer to hold talks…"

He hoped the Centre would allow an all-party delegation of the Jammu and Kashmir legislators to go to Pakistan and hold talks with the political leadership there.

"The prime minister gave a positive response to the suggestion," the Mufti claimed.

He mentioned how two boys who had accidentally crossed over from Pakistan to the Indian side were returned to the Pakistani Rangers within two days. "These are small gestures that make a difference."

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Read about: The Road to Peace | Kargil Crisis

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