July 2001 News

Militant group urges Pak, India to bring peace

8 July 2001
The Times of India

SRINAGAR: Kashmir's dominant militant group, Hizbul Mujahideen, on Sunday urged India and Pakistan to fulfill the dream of peace in the divided state at their upcoming summit. "We appeal to the leadership of India and Pakistan to hold talks on Kashmir, keeping in view the aspirations of the people," group spokesman Mujahid Masood said in a statement. Hizbul, which is fighting for Kashmir's secession from India and its merger with neighbouring Pakistan, urged both countries to give up "rigidity and stubbornness" when discussing Kashmir in the upcoming summit. The dispute over the Himalayan state is expected to top the agenda when Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf meet in Agra next weekend. "People of the subcontinent have started attaching high hopes to the summit," said Masood, "and started dreaming about a peaceful Kashmir resolution." Hizbul declared a unilateral ceasefire in July last year but withdrew it within a fortnight after New Delhi refused to involve Pakistan in talks over Kashmir. A similar unilateral ceasefire declared by India in November was withdrawn last month after militants failed to honour it. Hizbul discussed the upcoming summit in a meeting of central leadership under the chair of chief commander Majid Dar. "It was felt that if, God forbid, the summit fails," Masood said, "then it will be a tragedy for the people of the subcontinent and a beginning of another cycle of bloody violence." "Any solution reached at by the two leaders should be acceptable to the people of Kashmir," he said, 'so that they can taste the fruit of their struggle and sacrifices." The militant group also appealed to other organisations to declare the route to the holy cave shrine of Amarnath as safe until the completion of the annual Hindu pilgrimage which began July 2. (AFP)   


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