LoC people pray for peace24 January 2010
The Daily Excelsior
GUREZ: Concerned over the increased tension between India and Pakistan, people living in the border areas pray for peace between the two neighbours. 'We are concerned over the tension between the two countries as we are the people who suffered most because of their strained relations since 1947', a senior leader of ruling National Conference (NC) Nazir Ahmad Khan alias Gurezi said. Mr Gurezi, who represented the Gurez constituency in the State Assembly for second successive term, said recent statements by the leaders from both the countries against each other was a cause of great concern. However, he said, since 2003, people on the Line of Control (LoC) are living in peace after both the countries announced ceasefire on the borders. There were reports of some violations, but there was no damage to civilians, Mr Gurezi said. He said prior to ceasefire, Indian and Pakistani troops were exchanging firing with automatic and heavy weapons. Almost entire Gurez was under the direct target of Pakistani troops, who were firing rockets and mortar shells. ' We had constructed underground bunkers in which we were taking shelter during the shelling', he said adding but people were still being hit by the shells. 'Now we are using these bunkers to store fodder for animals and wood for winter', Mr Gurezi said and prayed for improvement in the relations between the two countries, which had witnessed a setback after Mumbai 26-11 attack. He said people living on borders are worried because of recent statements over IPL cricket controversy and cancellation of visit by Pak delegations to India. The recent statement of Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani that there was no guarantee that 26-11-like attack would not take place, has further worsened the situation. Gurez and its adjoining villages had lost 40 people, while an equal number were rendered handicapped due to mortar shelling from across the LoC, he said, adding some of them lost their lives in mine blasts, which had been planted by the security forces near the border to stop infiltration. After the ceasefire, people did not migrate and stayed in their homes. Schools, markets and offices also opened without any fear of being hit by shells,, he said. He said any conflict between the two countries would have a negative impact on the people living on both sides of the LoC. Not only people on this side of the LoC, but other side too suffered because of shelling and firing in the past, he added. Let India and Pakistan resume the peace process and resolve all their issues amicably through dialogue, he said. People in Uri, Machil and other border areas, including Neeru, Tulail, Dawar, Dherwan and Tangdhar, who suffered a lot in the past, also prayed for peaceful relations between India and Pakistan. For the first time they were able to cast their ballots in Assembly and Parliament elections in the villages after the ceasefire, most villagers living near the LoC said. 'We are praying for peace every day', they added.