J&K Muslim leaders welcome ceasefire
26 November 2003
The Daily Excelsior
Daily Excelsior Correspondent
Jammu: Welcoming the ceasefire between Indian and Pakistani forces along the international border, line of control and AGPL, several Muslim leaders in the Jammu and State have said that Pakistan should also restrict the militant organisations operating from its soil. Senior Congress leader and Minister for Power, Mohd Sharief Niaz while welcoming the ceasefire offer from Pak and a positive Indian Government response termed it as an Idd gift for the people of both the neighbouring countries. He said a large number of people living under the constant fear of gun along the border on both sides, are today are most relieved with this decision. 'It is a step in the right direction for the restoration of peace in this sub-continent. New era has begin and now Pakistan should take desired measures to control the militant organisations operating from its soil and indulging in bloodshed in Jammu and Kashmir,' Mr Niaz said adding that the agreement is required to be honoured by the both the Governments for long. Senior National Conference leader and former Finance Minister, Abdul Rahim Rather described the 'ceasefire' as historic decision and a positive development in normalising relations between the two neighbouring countries. If it goes all along and proves successful, it would make a way to resolve many bilateral issues between the two countries. The border people are the worst victims of the border firing and they will be a relieved lot now. Responding to a question Mr Rather said the that Hizbul Mujahideen’s claim to continue militant activities will have no effect on the 'ceasefire' agreement. Silencing guns from both sides along the border is an agreement between the two Governments and if the militants wish to continue their own activities, they might be having their own leadership and control. It has nothing to do with this historic decision. But overall, this decision, especially on the occasion of Idd festival has delighted the people living along the borders of both the countries. They are the real victims because they have lost their members, animals and their homes. Thousands are living in camps due to fear of shelling. If peace prevails, they will be able to go back to their homes. Senior Gujjar leader from an extreme border constituency of Uri, Mr Taj Mohi-ud-Din said the people of his constituency are the most relieved persons with this historic decision. ' We wish both the countries keep on honouring this agreement so that a permanent peace is restored all along the borders. It is also a happy moment for the people of Kargil, Tangdhar, Poonch, Rajouri, Chhamb and Pallanwalla who often become victims of the cross-firing. The shelling has caused havoc to these border people, their houses have been damaged, dear ones, killed and animals perished. They could not cultivate their fields for long and many are still languishing in camps. He hoped a good sense may prevail upon the Pakistan leadership and they follow the path of peace, harmony, development and friendship. Mr Taj who, is Minister for Food, Public Distribution and Consumer Affairs, further said that earlier the ceasefire offer by the Indian Government could not last long and proved as failure. The sincere peace initiative from both the countries will definitely improve relations between the two countries and restore peace in this region. It will also make room for beginning dialogue and resolving many issues between the two neighbourers. Senior CPI (M) leader and Member State Coordination Committee Mohd Yousuf Tarigami has said that it is big step forward in the restoration of peace and tranquillity in this region. It is a positive development and both the Governments seems to be serious is resolving issues. Such a move will definitely lead to initiatiation of dialogue in near future. Mr Tarigami further expressed that people of both the countries were the victims of the continuous firing all along the borders and they will be relieved from the constant fear of firing. The 'ceasefire' on this festive occasion of Idd is expected to be fruitful and may lead to some bigger initiatives like internal ceasefire as well. People’s Democratic Party general secretary and former minister Mohd Sharief Tariq from Rajouri termed the ‘ceasefire’ agreement as an Idd gift to the people of this region and also to those living on the either side of the border. The Pak must learn to live in peace and let others to live in peace. The border people are most happy with this move and now if Pakistan is really serious in improving relations with India and settling issues through dialogue, its present leadership should also keep a check on the militants operating from its soil. The militants can not go a long way without the help of Pak and if they are abandoned, the militancy can also be contained. Muslim Federation, general secretary Mr H A Saddiqqi while welcoming this decision has said that things seems to be moving in right direction. This is very positive and healthy development and will help resolving several issues confronting the two nations. This agreement on the festive occasion of Idd, is a happy moment especially for those residing along the borders in both the countries. Hizbul Mujahideen militant organisation if wants to carry on its operations will have no impact on this agreement. If the sincere initiative goes on between the two countries the outfits can be neutralised and if the Pak support ceases, they ultimately will become inactive.