Srinagar: Hurriyat Conference (M) Friday reiterated his demand for re-opening traditional routes connecting the Valley with other parts of the world.
Addressing a Friday gathering, Mirwaiz said, “Roads are the lifelines of any city, state or country facilitating not only transportation but also trade. Today the whole world is being better connected through roads, railways, etc while as Kashmir is one of the few places where instead of progress there is regress in terms of development of these lifelines.”
He said that Srinagar-Jammu highway, the only road route connecting Kashmir to the rest of world at present, remains closed for most part of the winter.
“Despite many promises of development of this highway not much has improved which results in regular threat to the Valley of being left without essential supplies.”
He said that even at this time, thousands of passengers and supply trucks to Kashmir were on the highway. “As a result of its closure due to slightly bad weather in the region, passengers have to face tremendous hardships and the Valley is again starved of essential supplies.”
“The sad part is that Kashmir has many natural routes which facilitated its trade and commerce in the past at international level. Kashmir was a hub of crossroads connecting South and Central Asia and a key part of the Silk Route between China and West Asia as well as Europe.”
He said that Hazrat Shah Hamadan (RA) travelled to Kashmir from Tajikistan through the northern route. “The Greek coins at SPS museum are a testament to the fact that Kashmir was a part of international trade and commerce 2000 years ago and Kashmir flourished economically and culturally through this connectivity.”
“Instead of trying to develop these natural routes, they were deliberately closed and Kashmiris were made dependent on this sole land route that closes in winter thereby cutting it off from the rest of the world. This has negatively affected both Kashmir’s economy as well as prosperity.”
Mirwaiz said that while the Srinagar-Jammu highway needs to be developed, economic growth of the region demands that alternative routes should be re-opened and developed. “It will restore Kashmir’s historical and rightful role as a hub of trade and crossroads between South and Central Asia and as an important part of the ancient Silk Route.”
“This will not only benefit Kashmir, but whole of South Asia. “At a time when China and other countries including India and Pakistan are cooperating to re-establish the Ancient Silk Route – the web of land and sea connections that once flourished in Asia – it is time to reconnect Kashmir,” Mirwaiz said.