Jammu (JPN/Bureau):  Amidst mounting pressure for an amicable and permanent solution to Jammu and Kashmir issue, the main Opposition in the state, People's Democratic Party (PDP) has demanded pre-independent status of Kashmir.

The PDP also asked the Central government to take positive measures to restore peace in the state. While the ruling National Conference (NC) sought "greater autonomy" to Jammu and Kashmir.

Addressing a one-day convention of the party leaders in Jammu province, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti pressed ‘full restoration’ and ‘self-rule’ to the state as was before partition.

The PDP leader earlier had displayed a map of J&K showing various cross-border trade routes which generated a controversy with Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. The map displayed by Mehbooba at a press conference in Srinagar and later mailed to various media organisations had Aksai Chin marked in red and Pakistan occupied Kashmir in green. The PDP, however, defended by saying that for the first time a mainstream political party has mentioned about other parts of Kashmir.

“The land encroached upon by other countries could not be restored, but the facility of visiting both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) should be extended beyond the divided families to common citizens of the two sides,” she said.

Mufti also said that it is essential to remove hassles in the movement of goods and passengers can be removed to make the historic 2005 Indo-Pakistan peace initiatives more meaningful. She also sought the opening of Jammu-Sailkote, Bandipore-Gurez-Gilgit, Chhamb Jourian-Mirpur, Nowshere- Mirpur-Kotli and Teetwal-Chilhan routes to exploit the full potential of the region.

The PDP chief also asked to reduce the number of Central forces from civilian areas in Jammu and Kashmir, revoke ASFPA and immediately stop other "repressive" measures to restore trust among locals in the Indian administration.

“The resolution of the Kashmir issue remains its core issue and the party's ongoing campaign through democratic means for the same would continue,” said Mufti, adding “people of Jammu and Ladakh are equal stakeholders in the problem, so PDP has involved residents of these two regions also in the debate to arrive at a consensus for the (Kashmir) resolution.”

She said that the party's self-rule document is aimed at addressing the problems of all regions. The PDP has passed a resolution in this regard.

Amongst the eminent leaders present during the convention included party convenor and former CM Mufti Mohammad Saeed, Ved Mahajan, Trilok Singh, Balbir Singh, Vijay Dogra and Shanti Devi.

Meanwhile, NC after the party's Central Working Committee meeting here said it firmly stands on its autonomy demand. The party had launched the campaign in this regard in the year 1996 and got it passed in the special session of State Legislative Assembly held in June-July 2002.