May 2003 News

LoC must be softened: Mufti

9 May 2003
The Hindu
Luv Puri

Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, today called for a ceasefire in the State. He appealed to the militants to make a final move towards heralding peace in the troubled State. Talking to reporters here today, he said that everything happening in the subcontinent was in the right direction. But the real positive development would be when there was peace in Jammu and Kashmir. 'This can only happen when hostilities end. I call for an armed ceasefire in the State so that people can live in peace,' he said. The Mufti said the initiative taken by the Majid Dar-led Hizbul Mujahideen in the past was a good precedent. But the sponsors of gun culture should also prevail on the militants to stop the naked dance of death. 'Let peace be given a chance and see the result. Let the people enjoy the fruits of peace initiatives being taken by both the countries. De- escalation would also help India and Pakistan settle disputes.' The militants should realise that the situation had changed after the September 11 terrorist attack in the U.S. Pakistan now showed flexibility in its approach and was prepared to discuss other issues such as trade. The voice of confrontation should now make way for the voice of moderation and respect for other people's views. The Chief Minister said the Line of Control should be softened. 'If the border could be opened at Wagah in Punjab and bus and rail services started between India and Pakistan, why could it not be done in the case of Jammu and Kashmir? Thousands of families, divided by the border, could have relief. Let the people meet their families on the other side.' The Suchetgarh-Sialkot and Muzaffarbad-Srinagar road network could be opened and free flow of the vehicular traffic and people could start on both sides. PDP may appeal for ceasefire Shujaat Bukhari reports from Srinagar The ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) is likely to make a formal appeal to militants to announce a ceasefire in the State in order to give Indo- Pak talks a chance to succeed. The Chief Minister set the tone for such a development today while addressing a function at Police Subsidiary Training School at Talwara in Udhampur district. The executive committee of the PDP was meeting here tomorrow for the first time after coming to power to chalk out the political roadmap for the party. A strong advocate for dialogue with the separatists, the PDP will also ask the militants to seize the opportunity by coming forward for talks. The party will also demand the lifting of restrictions on Kashmiris living on both sides of the Line of Control and allowing trade between the two sides.


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