Mehbooba Mufti visits Indo-Pak border to pursue father’s dream project

The octroi outpost on the line of Wagah border in Punjab was a “dream project” of her late father Mufti Mohammed Sayeed.

cities Updated: Aug 08, 2017 08:01 IST
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria
Hindustan Times, Jammu
National Investigation Agency,NIA,Mehbooba Mufti
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and PDP President Mehbooba Mufti waves to supporters during party's 18th foundation day in Srinagar on July 29, 2017. (PTI)

Even as National Investigation Agency (NIA) reportedly recommended closing down trans-LoC trade routes with PoK, chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday visited Octroi border out post along the Indo-Pak international border (IB) in Suchetgarh area of RS Pura sector in Jammu district to have an assessment of developing Octroi outpost on the line of Wagah border in Punjab—a “dream project” of her late father Mufti Mohammed Sayeed.

On June 14 last year and often after that, Mehbooba has said that Suchetgarh area near the IB can be developed on the lines of Wagah pattern to enhance ‘bonhomie’ between India and Pakistan.

She also wants two more routes across the Line of Control (LoC) with PoK to have the “camaraderie” between the two countries.

Via Octroi post, there had been Jammu-Sialkot rail route before Partition. Near the post there is a heritage building on old Jammu-Sialkot route, historical Raghunath temple and a BSF post, which have always attracted tourists.

Even to this day, 250 to 500 tourists visit the border outpost everyday to have a glimpse of the Jammu-Sialkot route.

Menbooba was welcomed at the BSF post by PHE minister Sham Lal Choudhary, tourism minister Priya Sethi, BSF Jammu Frontier IG Ram Awatar, director of tourism Smita Sethi, IG police Jammu Dr SDS Jamwal and others.

Thereafter, Mehbooba had an assessment of the place and visited up to Zero Line.

This trade route used to be the shortest and safest distance for the merchants before 1947.

However, following the Partition, this route was preferred by trans-border smugglers and intense shelling had also been a routine affair but at the same time, one cannot ignore the fact that Suchetgarh-Sialkot are away for just 11 kms.

A proposal had been lying with the Prime Minister’s Office since UPA regime to take up opening of Suchetgarh-Sialkot, Nowshera-Mirpur and Pallanwala-Chamb routes with Pakistan but it was on hold after the Mumbai terror attack.

First Published: Aug 07, 2017 23:33 IST