“If current tension at the borders is allowed to prolong, it will jeopardise the stability of the region and might escalate into an all-out war.”
New Delhi: The clamour for holding talks with Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue has been growing and now over 130 eminent citizens from both sides of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir have urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to resume ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) and begin the process of dialogue.
The development comes close on the heels of state chief minister Mehbooba Mufti recently stating that “there is no alternative” but for India and Pakistan to hold talks as the cycle of violence was claiming lives “every day”.
Speaking on the last day of the Budget session in the state assembly on February 13, Mehbooba had stated, “We have fought three wars in 1947, 1965 and 1971 and have won all of them, even the Kargil war. But our basic problem has not been resolved. Baatchit ke bina koi hal nahin hai (There is no alternative to talks).”
In her address, she had also referred to the convention organised by Pakistan-India People’s Forum For Peace and Harmony recently, stating that it too had “stressed the need for dialogue”.
In their petition, the eminent citizens from both sides of the “erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir” have echoed similar views. The petition signed by them has pronounced that “if current tension at the borders is allowed to prolong, it will jeopardise the stability of the region and might escalate into an all-out war”.
Signatories include several senior political leaders, poets, authors, journalists, civil society activists, former civil servants, ex-diplomats and army personnel, as well as people from academia. The petition states that the skirmishes at the LoC augment the sufferings of people residing not just near the border areas, but eventually of the entire population in the region.
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The petition, an initiative of civil society activist Anuradha Bhasin, who is also executive editor of Kashmir Times, and Ershad Mahmud, executive director of the Center for Peace, Development and Reforms, has also raised concerns on the “mushrooming growth of radical elements and war mongers in India and Pakistan who exploit the situation on LoC to promote hatred between the two countries”.
It claimed that the ongoing spate of violence would sanction the war mongers on both sides, and has, therefore, urged the political leadership in New Delhi and Islamabad to impress upon their respective militaries that there must be an immediate end to this continuum of shelling and firing.
In her address to the J&K assembly, Mehbooba had also raised the issue of war mongering by the media. “There are some media houses that have created an atmosphere where even talking about talks has become anti-national. They hold the worst debates with polarised mindsets. They bring people from Kashmir who are not even known in their own colonies. They always speak anti-India. They are picked up because they use unparliamentary and bad language, particularly against India, and the same type of people are picked from the other side to reply to them,” she was quoted as saying.
The need for the resumption of dialogue on the Kashmir issue between India and Pakistan was earlier also stressed by former Union minister Yashwant Sinha, who has led several peace delegations to the strife-torn state since a massive uprising began there in July 2016 in the wake of the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani.
A few months ago, Sinha had stated that first dialogue should begin “with our own people of Kashmir” and then it should be started with Pakistan.
“Jammu and Kashmir can become the bridge between India and Pakistan and the Line of Control can become the line of peace. India will have to involve Pakistan also in talks over Kashmir at some future date,” he had noted.