Calling for immediate de-escalation of tension along the borders in Jammu and Kashmir, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Friday urged the political leadership of India and Pakistan to show greater magnanimity and replace the hawkish rhetoric with talk of friendship and peace.
“Ironically at a time when the two countries should have been working for the rehabilitation of the flood-affected people on both sides of the LoC, they are engaged in virulent and dangerous confrontation along the borders thereby multiplying the miseries of the people whose lives have been shattered by the devastating deluge,” Sayeed said in a statement.
He said instead of resorting to the blame-game or sounding jingoistic with slogans of strong retaliatory action, the political leadership of the two countries must immediately resume the snapped process of composite dialogue for resolving all the issues including the recurrent ceasefire violations along the borders.
“New Delhi and Islamabad must without delay open the channels of communication realizing the dangerous consequences of any escalation of ongoing confrontation along the borders,” he said adding that peace between the two countries is crucial not only for stability, progress and economic prosperity of the region, but for the sustainment of the budding democratic institutions and forces in Pakistan.
Sayeed said the people of Jammu and Kashmir have very high stakes in peace as they have to pay heavy costs during any escalation of tension between India and Pakistan. “For the people of Jammu & Kashmir peace along the borders and within the mainland is of immense significance and I hope the political leadership of the two countries would also treat it with the same spirit,” he said and added that the ceasefire initiative of 2003 had proved to be an event of unrivalled importance for not only the two countries but also for the people in all the regions of Jammu & Kashmir.
Sayeed said the LoC ceasefire, had not only given the much-needed relief to the people living along the borders, but it had, as well, provided the broad umbrella for the peace process to flourish. “The ceasefire brought, after decades of tension and destruction, relief and normalcy into the lives of people residing in the State’s forward areas,” he said and added that at the same time it also made historic initiatives like opening up of LOC for bus service possible in J&K.
Sayeed expressed the hope that the new NDA government headed by Narendra Modi would follow the path shown by former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee while initiating historic steps to normalize relations between India and Pakistan. Recalling Vajpayee’s speech at Srinagar on April 18, 2003 wherein he had extended hand of friendship towards Pakistan at the time when there was eyeball to eyeball situation on the borders, Sayeed said; “Had Vajpayee not taken that historic step, there would have been no peace on the borders for the past 10 years.”
Sayeed said the present political leadership of the two countries shall have to snub those elements, who have been raising war hysteria, as every war between India and Pakistan was followed by dialogue. “If dialogue with Pakistan was started even after Parliament attack and Kargil conflict there is no reason to adopt adamant attitude this time because there is no other alternative except resumption of peace process and revival of dialogue for establishing lasting peace in this region”, he said.
Expressing condolences with the families who lost their near and dear ones in the ongoing escalation along the borders, Sayeed said it is tragic that while the people in Jammu and Kashmir were grappling with the aftereffects of the devastating flood tragedy, the escalation along the borders has only added to their miseries.