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Relations with Pak can't improve till terror stops, says PM

By Mukhtar Ahmad In Srinagar
December 14, 2008 20:00 IST
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Sunday that relations with Pakistan cannot improve unless they stop the use of their territory for terrorist activities against India.

Addressing a poll meeting in the south Kashmir's Shangus village on Sunday afternoon, Dr Singh said, "There are people who are ready to carry out bloody attacks on our country. Our desire to improve relations with Pakistan cannot be fulfilled unless the country stops use of its territory for terrorist acts against India."

The PM arrived in Srinagar on Sunday morning. Immediately after his arrival Dr Singh flew to Shangus village to address the election rally.

He said that India and Pakistan can improve relations only through mutual wisdom and cooperation and all issues including that of Jammu and Kashmir can be resolved through dialogue.

"Borders cannot be changed," the prime minister reiterated and added "but restrictions on these can be brought down and their significance can be reduced."

He congratulated people of Kashmir for their overwhelming participation in the elections. "You have shown full faith in democracy and with the power of your vote, a new government will be in place in coming days," he told the gathering in south Kashmir.
Ten constituencies of south Kashmir in the two districts of Anantnag and Kulgam go to polls on December 17 in the sixth phase of the staggered seven-phase-poll whose the campaigning ends on Sunday evening.

The prime minister appealed the "misguided local youth to join the national mainstream.The resort to extremism leads to path of bloodshed and it cannot bring about solutions to problems."

In view of the strike called by the separatist coordination committee against the PM's visit, the state authorities imposed curfew like restrictions in capital city and other places. 
Speaking about the sensitive issues of self rule and autonomy, the Prime Minister said, "The demands could be possible provided Congress is voted to power in the state."

The People's Democratic Party patron and former chief minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed whose party has been pressing for self rule in the state lost no time in welcoming the prime minister's announcement on self rule.

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Mukhtar Ahmad In Srinagar