Srinagar, Aug 25: Condemning the killing of Indian soldiers on the Line of Control (LoC), former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed Sunday called for immediate de-escalation of tensions on the boundary dividing the state between India and Pakistan.
Addressing a press conference here, Sayeed, the patron of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) said: “The rising tensions along the LoC and some points on the international border with Pakistan have caused a deep worry in our state.”
“From Kargil to Kathua, there have been incidents of serious nature threatening the decade-long ceasefire between the two countries which had rarely seen such a long thaw in their relations,” he said.
“The ceasefire had in the past survived even grave provocations like the Mumbai atrocities but it now looks like falling apart under the impact of unfortunate killings and the attendant rhetoric unleashed by some hawkish elements,” he warned.
Sayeed said there are reports of dislocation of civilian population from some forward areas especially in Poonch and Rajouri districts of Jammu region after the recent tensions on the LoC.
“People along the LoC and the international border had heaved a sigh of relief ever since the historic Vajpayee initiative from Srinagar in 2003 of extending a hand of friendship to Pakistan,” he recalled.
“The UPA, to its credit, followed up the initiative with very substantial measures that had for the first time a solid impact on the ground.
“Reopening of Muzaffarabad road was a landmark decision that broke frozen mindsets on the possibilities of cooperation along LoC and had started neutralizing the feeling of siege which has gripped the state after independence,” he said.
It was followed with the Poonch-Rawalkote route and the appointment of special working groups (SWG) “which made some important recommendations but remain unimplemented”, he added.
Sayeed said that they have “witnessed a major conflict in Kargil in 1999 taking a heavy toll of life and costing what it takes to fight a formal modern war. But the statesmanship displayed in its wake is a glorious part of our history”.
“It was followed up with dialogue as everyone could realize the futility of continuing with hostility. What will we achieve by a fresh bout of destruction?” he asked.
He also said that the people of the country have also invested in peace with Pakistan.
“They have in a large measure, whether it is about resuming sporting or intellectual activities, opening borders and systems for trade or showing more maturity in world forums which in the past used to be marred by bickering between the two nations.”
“The prime ministers, Manmohan Singh and Nawaz Sharif, have personally invested a great deal in peace and it will be a great tragedy if with them at the helm of affairs and presiding over the fates of one fifth of human mass, they fail to tap the potential and urge for reconciliation.”
Sayeed said it is sad that the main opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party is leading the “rhetoric and jingoism”.
“They are doing no service to the great legacy their own leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee has established,” he said.