Mufti hails Indo-Pak joint statement
14 March 2007
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: People’s Democratic Party (PDP) patron, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has hailed the Indo-Pak agreement on speeding up implementation of Jammu & Kashmir-specific Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) including operation of truck service on Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road and proposed bus service on Kargil-Skardu road. 'I am sure such reconciliatory measures would turn a new leaf in the sub-continent's history and pave the way for peaceful ultimate resolution of the Kashmir issue,' Mr Sayeed said in a statement issued here this evening. He lauded the visionary leadership of the two countries for initiating the much-needed tangible Kashmir-specific reconciliatory measures, which, according to him, would open new vistas of economic development for not only Jammu & Kashmir, but the whole region as well. At the same time, he stressed for opening of Suchetgarh- Sialkote road also for movement of people and goods across the border so that people in all regions of the State would benefit equally from the new initiatives. He emphasized that alongwith opening more cross-LoC meeting points, the people-to-people contact must be made more frequent and not restricted to the divided families alone. He said the movement of people should be made hassle- free and traders, tourists, students, journalists and pilgrims from both sides must be allowed free movement across the LoC to make the process more fruitful. Acknowledging visionary contribution of Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh and the UPA leadership in resolving problems facing people of the State, Mr Sayeed said there could have been no movement forward on the resolution of the issues if the Prime Minister and the UPA leadership had not pursued it with sincerity of purpose that they have shown. He, however, stressed for pushing forward the confidence building and reconciliatory process internally as well to shape up a comprehensive package for the resolution of the problems. 'I think PDP's proposals for gradual reduction of troops, revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and vacation of civilian properties by the security forces could be the most appropriate internal reconciliatory measures at this juncture,' he said and added that such measures would give a new turn-around to the situation and strengthen civil society institutions in the State through the involvement of masses in the peace building initiatives. Describing outcome of just-concluded Foreign Secretary level talks in Islamabad as a historic development, the Mufti said it reflects a clear political will by leaderships of both sides to carry forward and consolidate the peace process that was launched by former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee in Srinagar. He said joint statement is reflection of the resolve both the countries have shown to move ahead the peace process in a climate of reconciliation as described by the Prime Minister. Mr Sayeed said while the two countries have resolved to fully observe over three-year-old ceasefire along the LoC and proposed drafts for new border control guidelines along the international border, there is a pressing need to end the hostilities within the State and guns from all the sides must stop now.