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'We waited 57 years to reach here'

Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar | October 04, 2004 22:22 IST

"You had to wait for just five hours. We have waited for 57 long years to reach here."

These words of Imtiaz Alam, general secretary, South Asian Free Media Association, stirred emotions at the press club in Jammu when local scribes welcomed an 18-member team of journalists from Pakistan on Sunday.

Alam also said that once the people of India and Pakistan came closer to each other, Kashmir would become a "small issue".

He admitted, "Journalists have willingly allowed themselves to become tools of a vicious propaganda launched by their governments in the past.

"But that is over now. We have to rise above mean devices and bring the two countries closer."

Rehana Hakim, editor, Newsline magazine, felt that journalists had been writing stories on events in India and Pakistan without much knowledge. "We have heard a lot about Kashmir. I want to enjoy a shikara ride on Dal Lake. It is a great occasion to be here."

Amitabh Mattoo, vice-chancellor, Jammu University hosted a dinner for the visiting group.

The Pakistani journalists are scheduled to meet various leaders in Jammu on Monday.

They will visit camps of migrant Pandits and later talk to their leaders.

The journalists will travel to Srinagar by road on Tuesday after the administration allows them to visit the historic Verinag spring in Anantnag district.

The spring is the source of Jhelum river, which finally flows to Pakistan after it joins the mighty Indus river at Attak.

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More reports from Jammu and Kashmir
Read about: The Road to Peace | Kargil Crisis

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