NATIONAL

Mufti suggests ferry service to Pakistan

Jammu Dec. 7. The Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, today urged the Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, to explore the possibility of arranging meetings of families divided by the Line of Control, till the formal launch of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service as agreed to by India and Pakistan.

Addressing a public meeting in Kathua district of the Jammu region, the Mufti said a ferry service in the river Kishenganga that passes along the border in Karnah area should be considered, with some border posts on both sides. He referred to the recent visits of people to the riverbank, when they enthusiastically exchanged greetings.

The statement of the Chief Minister assumes importance, as it was he who had recently demanded the opening of the Jammu-Sialkot and Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road network. One of the proposals was included in 12 confidence buildings measures announced by India.

Mr. Sayeed said that the longing for contact among the people living on both sides of the border was very strong.

The local Sub-Divisional Magistrate received a message from a distant relative from across the border that either he should cross the river to meet them or they would come to him.

The Mufti said he would speak to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, requesting them to include the ferry service in the confidence building measures.

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