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PDP to take up dual currency proposal with PM

By Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
Last updated on: April 16, 2008 22:58 IST
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Even as his proposal ruffled many feathers among various political parties, Peoples Democratic Party patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Wednesday reiterated his demand for allowing dual currency in Kashmir.

"When the government of India has already announced certain relaxations for bus service between both sides of Kashmir, what is wrong in allowing dual currency," Mufti told a news conference in Jammu.

He pointed out that even Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, while formulating modalities for the cross border bus service, had announced concessions like movement without visa and passports across the LoC.

The former chief minister said, "Introducing dual currency will help in facilitating trade between both sides of Kashmir.

He, however, made it clear that it was just a suggestion by his party as part of a process to solve the Kashmir problem.

"It is a necessity to allow currency of both India and Pakistan in the state to let trade flourish between the two Kashmirs."

"Jammu and Kashmir should become a model among the SAARC countries by allowing both Indian and Pakistani currency to operate in the state," he said and strongly defended his suggestions by quoting the example of the European Union.

"There is already a proposal in SAARC for a free economic zone. Jammu and Kashmir could take the lead and become a model by allowing both Indian and Pakistani currencies here," Mufti said.

He added, "We have a vision for Jammu and Kashmir, and this is part of the process for solving the problem".

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar