January 2004 News

APHC to press India for ceasefire

20 January 2004
The Daily Times
Iftikhar Gilani

NEW DELHI: As the Hurriyat delegation led by its chairman Maulana Mohammad Abbas Ansari arrived here on Tuesday, international interlocutors were pushing India to declare a 'general amnesty' for Kashmiri militants and a 'safe passage' to foreign militants, as proposed by various pro-dialogue Kashmiri groups.Not only the Americans, but the Chinese are also pushing India to announce and implement some confidence building measures within Jammu and Kashmir to carry the message of peace to the general populace. With the media's pre- occupation with a US hand behind any move in South Asia, little did one know the role of China in pursuing both India and Pakistan to end hostilities. It was learnt here that Chinese President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao played a significant role in bringing together the latest peace initiative between the two countries.Though the notion of a 'secret pact' between India and Pakistan to share intelligence that led the recent killing of top Hizbul Mujahideen commanders remains mere speculation, experts here believe that the interlocutors were suggesting that the implementation of a the 'general amnesty' idea would be feasible only after the eliminating the 'active and hardened type', the exercise for which they believed had already begun.The crucial question, however, before these international interlocutors was the 'safe passage' to foreign militants or what they are called 'guest Mujahideen'. Pakistan would never be in a position to accept them through the so-called safe corridors and doing that would only establish its role in 'cross border terrorism'. Even if India and the rest of the world agree not to drum up, the big question is what to do with the non-Pakistani militants, Arabs and Chechens etc. Though China's mediation t in Indo-Pakistan affairs dates back to Kargil days, it took an active role after Prime Minister Vajpayee's visit last year to Beijing. Off late, Beijing was also weary about its province Sinkiang and it recently handed a list of its wanted men that were believed to be hiding in Pakistan.Agencies add Set to begin peace talks with New Delhi, Kashmir's separatist alliance plans to press India to declare a ceasefire against militants in the strife-torn region. Talks set for January 22 in New Delhi between the moderate faction of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference and Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani will be the first between the two sides since a revolt erupted in the Himalayan region in 1989. 'Kashmir is burning, people are dying daily. One of our main efforts will be to press India for a ceasefire against militants,' said Maulana Abbas Ansari, the Hurriyat chairman. 'I am extremely hopeful India will agree to the ceasefire. This will push the peace process forward.' 'We will suggest to India to declare a ceasefire against the Mujahideen operating in Kashmir,' said Omar Farooq, one of five Hurriyat leaders who will take part in the talks. 'It's definitely on our agenda,' said Mr Farooq. 'We want an end to violence as it will help push forward the peace process.'India and Pakistan agreed late in November to a ceasefire along the Line of Control. But separatist violence has continued in Kashmir despite peace moves between the two countries. -Agencies9 killed in Kashmir SRINAGAR Violence flared in Indian Kashmir as nine more people, five of them militants, died in the restive region, police said on Tuesday. Troops shot dead four militants in three clashes in Udhampur, Rajouri and Anantnag districts, police said. Elsewhere in Udhampur, militants triggered a landmine blast, killing one policeman and injuring four others as they were on a routine patrol, police said. The region's dominant militant group Hizbul Mujahideen claimed responsibility for the blast, a local news agency said.Police said a 19-year-old Muslim student died in an 'ambush laid by security forces' in Panzla village of Baramulla district. A top-ranking militant of Harkat-e- Jehadi Islami died in a group clash with the members of Hizb in southern Doda district late Monday, a police spokesman said. - Agencies


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