September 2005 News

Kashmiris’ moot seeks cut in army on both sides

22 September 2005
The Dawn

New Delhi: Intra-Kashmir ‘Heart-to-Heart’ talks on Thursday urged the governments of India and Pakistan to consider reducing the level of deployment of military and paramilitary forces on both sides of Kashmir. A joint statement, adopted at the conclusion of the two-day Kashmir conference held here, recommended review of detenus cases and declaration of general amnesty to prisoners detained in each country. Reading out the statement, former AJK Prime Minister Sardar Mohammad Abdul Qayyum Khan flanked by ICWA President Harcharan Singh Josh and chief of Panthers Party Bhim Singh, expressed gratitude for the cooperation and help extended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf in providing visa facilities. Releasing the joint statement at a crowded press conference here at Constitution Club, Sardar Qayyum described the talks as first-ever historic event, attended by the leaders from Azad Jammu and Kashmir and occupied Kashmir. Urging all concerned to avoid all types of violence as is detrimental to peace and stability in the region, the statement recommended the two governments to rapidly increase the facilities of people’s movement across the Line of Control to promote better understanding. This needed drastic reduction in restrictions on the people’s movement, it added. The statement urged all the official and non-official institutions to extend cooperation in this benign efforts designed to promote greater understanding and help the peace process to reach its logical conclusion. It further said it earnestly hoped this forum would be broadened to forge a consensus to further CBMs including the reopening of old historic and traditional routes to facilitate people-to-people contact. Welcoming the participation from Gilgit-Baltistan, the statement said it looked forward to their participation in the subsequent Heart-to-Heart talks. The statement expressed the resolve to strive for rehabilitation of the displaced persons back to their homes. It also recommended promoting contacts between the youth on both sides to help the peace process with futuristic view. It underscored the need for review of the antagonistic propaganda against each other and suggested to both government to develop joint mechanism to address the social services in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, as a whole. The trade relations and tourism be revived as soon as possible, it said, expressing intention to constitute intra-parliamentary forum to promote contacts between parliamentarians on both sides. Both sides expressed deep satisfaction over the first-ever historic meeting of the representatives of the state from both sides of Line of Control, the statement maintained it eagerly looked forward to subsequent meetings in the hope and expectations of helping the ongoing peace process to its logical end. The Kashmir conference, organized by Indian Council of World Affairs and Panthers Party was also attended among others by leader of National Conference, Farooq Abdul, former APHC Chairman, Abdul Ghani Bhat and Kashmir leader Sajjad Lone.


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