Time ripe to settle Kashmir: Qayyum
25 September 2005
New Delhi: Former AJK Prime Minister Sardar Muhammad Abdul Qayyum Khan on Sunday said that India and Pakistan should seize the fleeting opportunity to resolve the Kashmir dispute setting aside their past bitterness. Wrapping up his 10-day visit to India on the eve of Intra- Kashmir Heart to Heart Talks held here between leaders and intellectuals from Azad Jammu and Kahsmir and occupied Kashmir, Sardar Qayyum said the suggestions floated during this historic moot will help unleash fillip to the Indo-Pakistan peace. The interim steps, proposed at the talks were aimed at removing irritants and obstacles, impeding the dialogue and peace process to resolve the vexed issue of Kashmir, he said here at the conclusion of his visit. The Heart to Heart Talks was organized by Indian Council of World Affairs and Panthers Party. Sardar Qayyum had released the Joint Statement at the end of the conference urging Pakistan and India to reduce the level of deployment of military and paramilitary forces on the both sides of Kashmir. “Peace process is very positive and good step and both countries must seize the fleeting moment to resolve this issue which will never come again”, he added. There is groundswell of optimism that this first-ever interaction between the leaders of the two sides of Kashmir will play a pivotal role in carrying the peace process forward, he expressed. Responding to a question, he said Kashmiris had an important role to play in removing misunderstanding and paving the way for concrete progress towards peace. He was of the view that sacrifice, flexibility and compromises were required to hammer out a solution to the decades-old issue. He reiterated his stress on announcing general amnesty to the prisoners particularly those associated with the freedom movement of Kashmir. Sardar Qayyum said that some forces did not like the ongoing peace process between India and Pakistan and were bent up derailing the process. “But I can say these forces will not succeed,” he said adding, both countries can progress at fast pace only when the relations between the two become normal and peace is established” Stressing the need to take the people of Kashmir into confidence while moving forward the peace process, he said that Kashmiri Pandits who had migrated from their homes, should return to their homes as they were the equal citizens of the state. The peace process might be at a slow velocity, but it would succeed as both sides appeared to be sincere in their efforts to realize the objective, Sardar Qayyum said. The rehabilitation progress, he pleaded was of paramount importance as this gigantic measure would help address and redress the sufferings of the people of Kashmir. Favouring the return of the Kashmiri pandits, he emphasized that such displaced migrants should be provided complete protection by the people of occupied Kashmir. He was of the firm opinion that ambience was quite hospitable to take the peace process forward under the leadership of President Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The implementation of joint proposals, advanced by the leaders of both sides of LoC at Heart to Heart Talk will provide facilitation towards the resolution of Kashmir problem. He said the restrictions on the movement of people between the two sides of Kashmir should be relaxed. Dismissing as mischievous some news items carried by certain Indian dailies, Sardar Qayyum Khan said “The news published in some papers quoting me that militancy is going on in Kashmir” is absolutely incorrect. “This is sad that some elements are continuously trying to sabotage our ongoing peace talks”, he said adding some vested interests intend to spoil the atmosphere generated in support of peace process through “Heart to Heart” Talk.