Healing tuoch from across the border

June 10, 2007 8:00am CST
Two doctors from srinagar who have joined the hospital in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir are a sign of the strengthing of peace process. Pok Prime Minister Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan said on friday. The doctor couple, Irfan and Saima, joined the Mipur District Headquartrs hospital as medical officers on the Thursday after arriving in PoK nearly a month ago. "Without attributing it to many any new policy, I take it as the part of the peace process. It is a very positive development and I must thank my counter parts on the other side the Line of Control, as well as the Islamabad Government for facilitaton this, "Mr. Khan, a strong advocate of people-to-people contact between the two sides, tolc The hindu. Friends of the couple said they did not want to speak to the press. Mr.Khan sais the Union Government and the J&K Government had shown "reciprocity" to an open invitation by him to Kashmiri professionals on the Indian sida to come and help in the Post-earthquake reconstructioneffots. The Indian Home Ministry issued passports to the couple while Islamabad facilitated their visas, he said. Indian High Commission officials said they were unaware of the couple's arrival in PoK. The PoK Prime Minister expressed the hope that this was the begining of more interaction between"grassroots"Kashmiris on either side of the LoC. God forbid but there is always the fear of failure in a peace process becomes irreversible he said. He said the reconstruction work would take another eitherto 10 years, and the administration did not have enough capacity to handle it on its own. But when there are qualified Kashmiri professionals like doctros engineers and architexcts on the other side why should I take hepl from any one else?" he said. Mr.Khan said it would also help mitigate unemployment in Jammu and Kasjmir among qualified professionals. He said there was a demand for 30 to 40 more doctors and over a 100 paramedical staff. Civil and mechanical engineers were also required, as were architects, Mr. Khan said. "We are ready to accomadate as many qualified people as we can get. Im ready to welcome even non-muslim doctors. If hindu Kashmiris want to come and help in the reconstruction effort, they are most welcome,"he said The 2 doctors who joined the mirpur hospital have been taken on a temporary contract. Mr. Khan said his government did "not want to breach an understanding" with the indian sides but when "relations between the 2 sides of Kashmir are normal, we would like to offer[the doctors] permanant jobs." He said he saw a "lot of wisdom" in External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee's recent statement that no time frame could be given for a resolution of the Kashmir is sue. "It is very positive statement, full of wisdom,"he said, pointing out that Mr. Mukherjee had reiterated support for the peace process. "It is the process that is important. As long as the process continues, progress will come sooner or later,"he said
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