Kashmir's main opposition political party Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday asked India and Pakistan to stick to their word and open the traditional route between Kashmir's Kargil and Baltistan's Skardu area.
"The opening up of Kargil-Skardu road would be a part of the process started with the opening of Srinagar-Muzaffarabd and Poonch-Rawalakote roads in Kashmir and Jammu regions," said PDP president Mehbooba Mufti in Srinagar.
India and Pakistan allowed opening up trade routes in 2008 between parts of Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir with Rs 600 crore trading done already in the last four years.
Mehbooba said the governments of India and Pakistan had in principal agreed to do so. "Once implemented this would revive not only the cultural contacts of Kargil with Gilgit and other northern areas but would also open up a whole world of trading opportunities to entire state," she said.
"The biggest CBM of the cross-LoC initiated by India and Pakistan with the PDP pushing hard for it will remain incomplete without opening up of Kargil-Skardu road," said Mufti.
Accusing the past dispensations of not allowing Kargil to open up to the outside world, Mufti said, "Kargil was one of those areas which had tremendous potential for growth but had remained backward as a result of the political apathy of those who had been elected on their vote."
Kargil is 120 km away from Srinagar but remains cut off for six months as only surface road is blocked by snow. The frontier district of Kargil lies near the Line of Control facing Pakistan-occupied Gilgit-Baltistan areas west.
"The work on the construction of Zojilla tunnel (which connects the district with Srinagar) tunnel is necessary to be taken up from the both ends," said Mehbooba.
Mehbooba said in order to let the full potential of the region to be exploited it was also necessary that Kargil-Skardu road is thrown open.
Kargil was a trading hub between South Asia, Central Asia and China till 1948.