Hurriyat calls for ceasefire in J&K
12 November 2001
The Times of India
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
SRINAGAR: Hurriyat Conference chief Abdul Gani Bhat on Monday called for a ceasefire by all groups, including security forces and militants, in Jammu and Kashmir. ''India must call Pak''s bluff on Kashmir'' Pak agencies behind misappropriation charges Lone Centre should act now on J&K Lone Shabir Shah rules out talks with Centre''We propose that India, Pakistan, the APHC (All Party Hurriyat Conference) and other parties concerned call for a ceasefire,'' Bhat told reporters in Srinagar.''The APHC proposes that India, Pakistan and the APHC initiate negotiations with the seriousness and purpose to move forward. All parties (should) come forward and resolve the issue of Kashmir as per the wishes of the people of the troubled state,'' he said.The call comes almost a year after India announced a suspension of combat operations in Kashmir to mark the start of Ramzan.The month of fasting and prayer will begin again on Friday or Saturday with the rising of the full moon.New Delhi in May withdrew the ceasefire, saying militants had not responded to government efforts.Hurriyat - an umbrella of 23 Kashmiri separatist groups - had welcomed the suspension of combat operations by the security personnel last November.However, Home Minister L K Advani in October ruled out any new ceasefire in Kashmir.At the press conference on Monday, Bhat urged all groups to ''put their heads together and resolve the (Kashmir) dispute within a time frame''.''The solution has to be acceptable, honourable and durable,'' he said.The Hurriyat, which came into being in 1993, wants resolution of the Kashmir issue either through the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions or through tripartite talks involving India, Pakistan and Kashmiris.Bhat said Kashmir was a serious issue that had to be handled very ''sensitively.In January, the APHC had named a five-member team for a visit to Pakistan for talks to help resolve the Kashmir dispute.However, the visit did not take place as the government did not issue travel documents to the leaders to visit Islamabad.The United States and other Western powers have urged India and Pakistan to hold dialogue. But India has refused to talk with Pakistan until Islamabad ends support for militants in Kashmir, in what New Delhi calls ''cross-border terrorism''.Commenting on the pressure on New Delhi, Bhat said ''India will have to fall in line and start serious negotiations.''Bhat challenged Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee''s characterisation of militants in Kashmir as ''terrorists''. ''No freedom fighter can pass for a terrorist. We in Kashmir are involved in a righteous, just and legitimate freedom struggle,'' Bhat said. He thanked world leaders, including US President George W Bush, for stressing the need to resolve the Kashmir dispute.Bhat said on Saturday that he believed the conflict in Afghanistan would be resolved quickly and that he was hopeful world attention would soon shift to Kashmir.