April 2006 News

'Involve militants in Kashmir peace process'

15 April 2006
The Hindu
Shujaat Bukhari

Srinagar: Participants in an intra-Kashmir dialogue have stressed that the benefits of confidence-building measures (CBMs) between India and Pakistan should reach the people on both sides of the Line of Control. Many underlined the need for involving militants to make the peace process result-oriented. The dialogue, held for two days in Jammu, continued at a reception organised for the participants from Pakistan and Pakistan-Administered Kashmir (PAK) here on Friday. Organised by the Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation (CDR), Delhi, in collaboration with the Forum for Regional Voices (FRV), the dialogue was the second of its kind in the past one year. The former Pakistan Foreign Secretary, Himayun Khan; the former PAK Chief Justice, Majid Malik; the vice-president of the Pakistan People's Party, PAK Lateef Akbar, and representatives from Gilgit and Baltistan participated. Justice Malik said India and Pakistan lacked trust in each other on dialogue. 'Both have another thing in common; they do not trust the Kashmiri leadership as well.' He said: 'There is no leadership in both divided parts of J&K and we admitted it before Pakistan President General Musharraf.' Justice Malik, who a few years ago delivered the landmark judgment declaring Northern Areas part of J & K, said, 'the leadership on both sides don't want any change in status quo as it will harm their interests.' Mr Akbar said 'peace will never return to the Valley' if militants were not involved in the dialogue process. 'Their participation is must to achieve the desired results,' he said shortly after seven blasts rocked Srinagar city. 'Ease travel curbs' On the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service, Mr Akbar said complicated travel procedures made things difficult for people who intended moving to other side. 'During our meeting with Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, we asked him to ease travel restrictions.' Mr. Himayun Khan said: 'The people from both sides are fed up with hostility and have realised the importance of peace. They want their countries to resolve the Kashmir issue amicably and shift their focus on other problems.' According to Sushoba Bharve of the CDR, a resolution said dialogue should be held with all shades of opinion. The conference condemned violence in all forms and suggested that troops in Kashmir be brought within the purview of the State Human Rights Commission.


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