'Troop Cut, AFSPA Revocation Fundamental Ingredients Of Peace Process':Mufti

7 February 2009
Etalaat News Service

Jammu: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has said the State's democratic and civil society institutions must get actively involved in the Kashmir resolution process to ensure lasting peace and stability in the region. Addressing separate conventions of the party's Urban and Rural units of Jammu here today Sayeed said the State's political and democratic institutions must assert theelves as a matter of right and not as a concession. 'Substantial measures need to be taken now to consolidate the peace and resolution efforts,' he said and added that the instruments of the State administration must have a greater role in the matters of governance and the internal security. 'That is of fundamental importance to allow the democratic institutions of the State to grow and flourish,' he said. Strongly condemning the latest tragic incidents of civilian killings at Kupwara and Bandipora, Sayeed said despite repeated assurances, even at the Prime Minister's level, recurrence of such terrible incidents is not only uncalled for but demands concrete action on ground to salvage the hurt public psyche and bruised dignity. He said dealing with such incidents on case-to-case basis is going to prove inadequate in curbing the menace till the security forces continue to enjoy the impunity under the special laws imposed in the State for the past two decades. Reiterating the party's demand for troop reduction and revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) as outlined in the PDP's Self-Rule agenda , Sayeed said the time has come, when instead of relying on the length of the gun and strength of the bullet, the Government must genuinely engage with the people's aspirations to work for lasting peace in the State. 'If political solutions are not accompanied with sincerity of purpose and concrete action, possibility of lasting peace would recede,' he said and added that while the recent initiatives of the Government of India in this regard are a welcome step, the process, however, needs to be stepped up and made more comprehensive to positively impact the fast-changing situation in the State. Sayeed called for substantive action on the reconciliatory measures including revocation of AFSPA, reduction of troops, rehabilitation of the victi of violence irrespective of their affiliation, safe passage to the youth who had gone across for armed training and are now keen to return and live normal lives, devising a rehabilitation and relaxation package for the militants who have forsworn violence, improving employability avenues for the educated unemployed youth, ensuring social security for the large number of widows, orphans and destitute and putting in place a comprehensive economic development program for the State. 'Thinning the deployment of troops in the State would not only signal a commitment to carrying forward the peace process, but would be a significant goodwill message to the people of Jammu & Kashmir,' he said and added that the Central Government must look beyond the traditional notions of security and instead focus on inclusive peace in Jammu & Kashmir. The PDP Patron emphasized that the Government of India should speed up the process of implementing the intra-State confidence building measures proposed by the Working Groups. 'Implementation of the recommendations of the Working Groups would help to deepen the trust and facilitate progress on the resolution of the Kashmir issue,' he said and added that delaying the same could only brew cynicism and estrangement to the detriment of the peace efforts. PDP leaders Moulvi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari, Sardar Rangil Singh, Sardar T S Bajwa, Sardar Manjit Singh, Ved Mahajan, Dhaman Bhasin, Murtaza Khan, Basharat Bukhari, Shanti Devi, Falail Singh, Baldev Salathia, Surjit Kaur and all the zonal presidents from Jammu urban and rural were present at the meeting.