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June 22, 1999
Benazir urges religious leaders to end conflict
''It is time for the region's religious leaders to take a stand for peace and prevail upon their political counterparts to seek an end to the bloodshed in Kashmir,'' the former prime minister of Pakistan said in an appeal today.
Bhutto, who is living abroad as a fugitive since being convicted on corruption charges in April, said religion's powerful influence in the subcontinent should be used to secure a ceasefire and a negotiated settlement.
Her earlier appeal for a Camp David-like settlement in Kashmir was denounced by her adversaries in Pakistan as a Western conspiracy and an attempt at endearing herself to the Western powers.
In her article proposing a Camp David for Kashmir she wrote in The New York Times on June 8: ''Indeed, one of my principal regrets is that my policies (as prime minister) actually fed the tensions. Then, I believed that holding India-Pakistan relations hostage to the single issue of Kashmir would highlight the cause of the Kashmiri people. That policy certainly did not advance the cause of peace in South Asia.''
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