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21 Pakistani journalists to visit Kashmir

Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar | October 03, 2004 20:32 IST

Twenty-one Pakistani journalists entered India via the Wagah checkpost on Sunday. They are on their way to winter capital Jammu.

Official sources in Srinagar said the group will arrive in Jammu late tonight and will be staying in winter capital till Tuesday morning and reach summer capital Srinagar on the same day in the afternoon.

During their three-day stay in Jammu the journalists are scheduled to meet  leaders of various political parties, local journalists and state Deputy Chief Minister Mangat Ram Sharma, who will be hosting a dinner for them tomorrow.

This is for the first time since 1947 that a group of Pakistani journalists, including those from its administered part of Kashmir are visiting the valley.

They are scheduled to meet a cross-section of the political spectrum of the valley besides intellectuals at Srinagar. The visit has been sponsored by  South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA). Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed will host dinner for the visiting journalists at Srinagar.

Welcoming the Pakistani journalists to Jammu and  Kashmir, Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has said that such interactions help "reduce distances and create the right atmosphere for improvement of relations".

He said the mediapersons are free to meet anybody they want, as "there is  no restriction on their movement".

The chief minister hoped that the visit will boost the "ongoing process of reconciliation between India and Pakistan adding that it is a step in the right direction".

"Let them make their own assessment after visiting this place", he said. "The government has nothing to hide from them."

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