October 2006 News

CBMs losing their usefulness: Mirwaiz

4 October 2006
The Dawn

Washington DC: The confidence building measures taken to ease tensions over the Kashmir dispute are rapidly losing their usefulness, warns Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. Mr Farooq, who chairs the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, met President Gen Pervez Musharraf during his visit to the United States. Later on Wednesday, he was stated to talk about the impact of the Havana summit on the peace process in South Asia. President Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met in Havana, Cuba, in the middle of the last month and agreed to resume bilateral talks on Kashmir and other issues. “No confidence building measures is effective forever. Such measures have to be backed by concrete efforts to resolve the dispute,” he said. “For instance, the bus service was started to facilitate communication between two parts of Kashmir but now both Indian and Pakistani governments are discouraging Kashmiris from using this service.” Mr Farooq, who has stayed engaged with both Indian and Pakistani governments to seek a peaceful settlement to the 60-year old dispute, appears disappointed with New Delhi’s attitude. “Pakistan has been very accommodative but I see no flexibility in India’s attitude,” he complained. “Unless India reciprocates, I do not see the peace process going anywhere.” He said that New Delhi not only failed to fulfil the promises it made with Pakistan but all those made with Kashmiris. “When we met Prime Minister Singh, he promised to take a number of steps to improve the situation, to make life easy for ordinary Kashmiris but nothing happened.” One of the promise, said the Kashmiri leader, was to reduce troops. “He agreed with us that it’s not a good idea to deploy soldiers in civilian neighbourhoods and promised to reduce troop-presence in civilian areas but no action was ever taken.” He said that although Indian troops commit human rights violations even in major cities, “the worst atrocities are committed in the rural areas”. He said his group recently toured the areas along the AJK border and was “horrified to see how troops behave with ordinary citizens”. The APHC leader said he believed Pakistan was showing flexibility because “they do not want to give India an excuse to run away from the peace process”. But so far Pakistan’s efforts to make Indians commit to the peace process have not succeeded, he added. “We are very disappointed. There has been no progress.” Mr Farooq described the Indian prime minister as “a sweet person, nice to talk to, but he never takes any concrete step to fulfil his pledges”.


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