J&K Civil Society On Both Sides Appeals For LoC Truce

J&K Civil Society On Both Sides Appeals For LoC Truce

14 January 2013
Kashmir Times


Jammu: The people of Jammu and Kashmir on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) have called upon the political leadership in New Delhi and Islamabad to initiate action to begin immediate dialogue for a more long term end to these ongoing tensions to restore the sanctity of the ceasefire that has been in place since 2003 by replacing strategic insecurities of the two militaries with mutual trust and co-operation. This appeal has been made in a petition to be sent to both the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari by around 50 members of the civil society from both parts of J&K. The appeal will be sent to the heads of the two countries after collection of more signatures. In the initiative representing the collective voice of all peace loving people from both parts of the state, both the leaders were urged to impress upon their respective militaries to immediately desist from this continuum of shelling and firing incidents. The signatories deplored the war rhetoric and attempts by political or religious groups for symbolism of Kashmir to justify war mongering and hatred. “At the same time, we call for an immediate end to the hostilities on the Line of Control,” it was stated in the petition. It was maintained in the petition that the people of Jammu and Kashmir on both sides of the Line of Control, had been observing with great concern the escalation of tensions at the LoC that had been building up gradually since June 2012 and had suddenly taken an ugly turn since the first week of January, 2013. “We express grave concern at the loss of lives of the soldiers and any casualties to civilians on both the sides. At the same time, we are also concerned about the safety and security of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, particularly the people living at the borders, who are directly hit by sporadic incidents of shelling and firing. These repeated violations of the ceasefire that has been in place as part of an agreement between India and Pakistan since 2003 have been adversely affecting the lives of the people at the borders,” the signatories said. They added that besides, these also had the potential dangers of reversing the gains of this biggest Confidence Building Measure that enabled and facilitated interactions, howsoever symbolic, between the two sides of the divided state, provided security and a conducive atmosphere for much needed development for the people living at the borders. “Besides, these tensions threaten the very framework of peace for which 10 year long ceasefire at the LoC has been a great bulwark, even though the pace of peace process has been so far tardy and does not fully engages with the people of this state. We fear that if these tensions at the borders are allowed to prolong, they will compromise the goodwill that has been built and reverse the peace dividends,” they apprehended. The signatories feared that this would cause massive sufferings to the people of not just the border areas, but eventually of the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir, on both sides. Besides, they would provide a greater space to extremist, hawkish and fanatic elements as well as empower the war mongers on both sides. “They also have the potential of ushering the whole region into a new cold war destroying hopes of long term peace and economic stability and hamper SAARC-wide integration. We deplore the war rhetoric and attempts by political or religious groups for symbolism of Kashmir to justify war mongering and hatred. At the same time, we call for an immediate end to the hostilities on the Line of Control,” they appealed in the petition. Signatories to the petition included Anuradha Bhasin Jamwal, Murtaza Shibli, Abdul Majid Zargar, Tajamul Hussain, Nusrat Andrabi, Suraiya Kamal, Arif Kamal, Tariq Masud, Ershad Mahmud, Najma Khan, Salman Anees Soz, Arjimand Hussain, Sameer Bhat, Akshay Azad, Asmat Ashai, Shafat N. Ahmad, Rekha Chowdhary, Badri Raina, Rahmat Kamal, Ellora Puri, Ved Bhasin, Nyla Ali Khan, Hameedah Nayeem, Shaheen Akhtar, Prabodh Jamwal, Gulam Jeelani, Gazalla Amin, Ishaq Kullar, Danish Khan, Anamika Mujoo Girotte, Motilal Raina, Dr Waleed Rasool, Altaf Hussain, Mushtaq ul Haq Ahmad Sikander, Dr Naseema Jogezai, Manmeet Bali Nag, Bashir Ahmad Dar, Gowhar Geelani, Jamshed Naqvi, Pyare Shivpuri, Shujaat Bukhari, Dr Javid Iqbal, Narjees Nawab, Javed Naqi, Shuchismita, Shefali Manhas and Pawan Bali.