Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Patron, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Monday said that one of the reasons for current tensions along the Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB) with Pakistan is the failure to build on the ceasefire of 2003 and use this for further normalization, easing travel and trade and expanding its scope and scale.
Addressing a press conference here on Monday, Mufti said that the ongoing tension between India and Pakistan along the LoC and IB has been causing very serious concern in the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir and “the intensity and frequency of ceasefire violations would suggest the decade long truce is all but crashing.”
Mufti announced that his party will take out a peace march on November 4, in Srinagar, “to convey to the national leadership the concern for the deterioration in security environment and the need to mend it through peaceful means.” He said, “The message has to go across to Pakistani leadership as well to spare the state and the region any fresh adventures.”
Mufti appealed that the concerns of the people of Jammu & Kashmir as the frontline state must be respected and ceasefire restored. “Through the Peace March we hope to convey our seriousness on the issue and expect it to get registered in spite of the din, partisan interests and strategies of ongoing electoral battle,” he said.
He said that many frontier villages have already borne much brunt of the renewed acts of hostility. “There have been reports of migration, injuries and deaths as a result of firing and shelling,” Mufti said during a press conference.
Mufti added “The human cost of border violence is rising alarmingly. We express our deep sorrow at the killings and share the grief and pain of the families of the victims.”
Mufti said that the people of the state had looked up to the Manmohan Singh- Nawaz Sharief summit in New York with great hope for revival of the peace process which lay in virtual tatters. “But unfortunately the meeting failed even to restore normalcy on borders not to speak of any proactive measures on the vision unfolded in 2003.”
PDP Patron said that there has never been any dearth of hawks in the two neighboring countries that would fan the fire of hostility and bullet for bullet policy. “There have been wars on major and minor scales which brought destruction and misery to the people of the state. But those who advocate violence have been at a safe distance from the nearest bullet fired or house bombed,” Mufti said.
“Jammu and Kashmir too produced its share of politicians who would try to serve their personal interests by indulging in war rhetoric against Pakistan,” Mufti said adding “Fortunately the changed discourse following 2002 elections had made peace rather than war, its centre piece. Our emphasis on peaceful means to resolve Kashmir issue had introduced a new and welcome uniformity on the approach to Kashmir issue among the political stakeholders in the state which excludes violence of any kind.”
Mufti said that the consensus was broken recently when the chief minister called for ‘other options’ and a ‘response in kind’ at a time when shells and bullets were taking their toll on both sides of the divide. “It clearly goes beyond the usual lack of sensitivity to the people’s sentiment and looks like a part of a script to sacrifice the interests of the state for some other objective,” he said.
Mufti made it clear that war as no option, not even the last. “We have witnessed wars and suffered their consequences as no other state has had to. Every war was triggered by hawkish interpretation of situation and had to be followed up with negotiations or mediation to end them,” he said.
Mufti said, “If we could tackle Kargil intrusion without going for a full scale war, if parliament attack could see the longest ceasefire between the two countries coming in the wake of troop mobilization, one fails to understand the logic of any war mongering now in absence of any major provocation.”
The former Chief Minister opined that the border firing has nothing to do with the conflict around Kashmir because both countries realize that use of force cannot bring any change in its status. “The issue has to be addressed politically and the two countries have to respect the yearning for peace in J&K,” Mufti said adding. “Vajpayee did that in 2003 with resounding results when it looked that finally the jinx around Kashmir was being neutralized. People of this state continue to nurture the same sentiment and want that the peace process be revived and taken to its next level. That will also help retain the spirit of ceasefire and protecting it against any sabotage.”