Pakistan, India agree on Kashmir troop reduction, says Mirwaiz
2 March 2007
The Daily Times
Srinagar: Pakistan and India have agreed on reduction of troops on both sides of the divided Jammu and Kashmir, All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) Chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq said on Friday. We are happy that India and Pakistan have agreed on withdrawal of troops from Jammu and Kashmir and Azad Kashmir which would be the first step towards resolution of the Kashmir issue, Press Trust of India quoted Mirwaiz as saying in his Friday sermon at Jamia Masjid in Srinagar. Farooq said that during a recent meeting with Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri in New Delhi, the Hurriyat delegation was told that the two countries were working out modalities for troops withdrawal from either side of the Line of Control (LoC). He said that New Delhi and Islamabad had also agreed that there was no military solution to the Kashmir problem and that progress towards a lasting settlement would have to be made in a phased manner. The withdrawal of troops and revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act make a perfect beginning to the phased resolution of the Kashmir issue, he said. We want to assure both India and Pakistan that Hurriyat will extend its full support and cooperation in pushing forward the peace process, he added. Without naming the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Farooq said that some political groups were giving an impression that they were the moving force behind the changes taking place in the state. India and Pakistan are taking several steps towards resolution of the Kashmir issue due to supreme sacrifices of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and they (some political groups) have no role to play in the demilitarisation, the Kashmiri leader added. Farooq said that it was unfortunate that some pro-India parties were claiming credit for developments on the Kashmir issue. Their aim is to get power and secure their vote bank. They are trying to fool people, which will not happen this time around. He (PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed) is forgetting that he was the one who brought army to Kashmir. These people are not bothered about what will happen to the people or the Kashmir issue. In a veiled reference to the National Conference, the veteran Kashmiri leader said that another party was thinking about contesting elections instead of trying to get together on the peace process. Pakistan Foreign Office spokeswoman Tasneem Aslam refused to comment on Farooqs statement regarding troop reduction in Kashmir. I have no information about it, she said.