J&K Peace Is Not Fluke, Says Mufti
22 August 2003
The Asian Age
London: The prevailing 'peaceful atmosphere' in Jammu and Kashmir was not a 'fluke' but a 'permanent phase,' the chief minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed said on Friday even as his political rival Omar Abdullah favoured converting LoC into a 'soft international border' between India and Pakistan. 'It is not a temporary phase but a permanent phase,' Mr Sayeed said. The chief minister said the peaceful atmosphere prevailing in the state is supported not only by the people of Jammu and Kashmir but also by the people of Pakistan and India. 'So I must say this change in the situation is conducive for peace and this peaceful atmosphere is not a fluke, it is not a temporary phase. It is the will and determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.' Mr Sayeed suggested that the 'walls of hatred and suspicion (existing between India and Pakistan) should be removed and the 300 km Uri-Rawalpindi road should be reopened.' Mr Omar Abdullah suggested that a solution to the Kashmir problem lay in converting the Line of Control into a soft international border. 'A soft border is essential to allow people of both sides of Kashmir to come across and facilitate the families to meet, reunite and trade. Greater autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir on this side, greater autonomy to Kashmir on that side of the border will help to solve the problem. 'This is where the solution lies and this is what government of India must address internally as well as externally,' the former minister of state for external affairs said.