Srinagar: Moderate Hurriyat Conference on Friday demanded reopening of traditional and natural routes linking Kashmir with Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) that could provide economic relief to the people of the state.
"India and Pakistan should take immediate steps to link Kashmir with outside world through its traditional and natural routes that could provide economic relief to the people of Jammu and Kashmir," Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said at a Friday congregation in Jamia Masjid here.
He said it is a long standing demand of the leadership of both parts of divided Kashmir that the traditional natural routes be restored as part of confidence building measures while making a headway in the resolution of Kashmir issue.
"Instead of restricting trade to a few goods, steps should be taken to allow free movement along these routes for economic prosperity of the people living on both sides," Mirwaiz said.
Srinagar-Jammu national highway, the only all-weather road linking the Valley with rest of the country, frequently gets closed due to snowfall which results in hardships to the people of the valley, he said.
"The reopening of the natural routes will provide an alternative and could serve as a lifeline for the people," he said.
Expressing concern over the "callousness" of state government in view of the immense problems faced by the people due to heavy snowfall, Mirwaiz said the administration has failed on all levels and was showing no interest in providing succour to the people in these challenging times.
"The people have been left alone to fend for themselves as the electricity, water and other services have been snapped and there is immense shortage of day to day food items. Regrettably, the situation is same in both rural and urban areas of the state," he said.
"In order to draw the attention of international bodies towards the resolution of Kashmir, Hurriyat will organise a seminar, `Kashmir issue and UN insensitivity` on January 5 at amalgam headquarters Rajbagh," he added.