November 2004 News

No Ethnic Division Of Kashmir'

4 November 2004
The Asian Age

New Delhi: The people of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir don't want any solution of the Kashmir issue which involves division of Kashmir on religious lines. Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf recently talked about a range of options for Kashmir which includes independence, joint control with India and demilitarisation and had pointed out that the division of Kashmir on ethnic and religious lines could be a possible solution. PoK residents, however, are opposed to this, says a report released by Human Rights Commission of Pakistan on PoK. The HRCP team, which toured various areas and met many Kashmiris in PoK, said the Kashmiris welcome the peace process and confidence-building measures between India and Pakistan. However, they demanded that they must be involved in talks on Kashmir and not kept excluded from the process in Islamabad and New Delhi. 'They do not support any solution of the Kashmir issue which propounds division of Kashmir on the basis of religion,' the report states. Kashmiris in PoK have also demanded that the proposed Muzaffarabad- Srinagar bus service should be started immediately and people from both sides should be allowed to travel on special permits - a system prevalent prior to 1956. Besides this, they feel that all road links between the two divisions of Kashmir should be opened. Pakistan President Gen. Musharraf started a debate in late October by outlining a range of options for divided Kashmir which includes independence, joint control with India and demilitarisation. He had said the process should start with determining the religious and ethnic makeup of Kashmir's seven regions. Demilitarising of all or some of these regions could follow, followed by changing their status - which is to divide Kashmir on ethnic and religious lines.

 

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