|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Revoke AFSPA, reduce troops for peace: Mufti
Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar | December 12, 2007 21:05 IST
Former Jammu and Kashmir [Images] chief minister and People's Democratic Party patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has linked the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and reduction in the number of deployed troops to the ongoing peace process.
"The reduction of troops and revocation of the AFSPA are the fundamental ingredients of the peace process and these measures will have a visible impact on the fast-changing ground situation in Kashmir," Mufti said on Wednesday while addressing a party meeting in Jammu.
The former chief minister said, "While vacation of schools and hospitals is a welcome step in the right direction, it must mark the beginning of a larger process of thinning the troops from the civilian areas in a phased manner."
"Thinning the deployment of troops in the state will not only signal a commitment to carrying forward the peace process, but will be a significant goodwill message to the people of Jammu & Kashmir," he said and added the "time has come for the leadership of the state and the country to act with courage and determination to lay the strong foundations for peace in the state and the region."
"While the renewed peace efforts by India and Pakistan have generated hope for peace and stability in the region, the leadership of the two countries must now make a concerted movement towards dismantling political barriers for the free movement of people and goods in the region," Azad said.
"Given the emerging global and regional equations, the leadership of India and Pakistan must act in their own enlightened self-interest to resolve the problems confronting Jammu and Kashmir," he said and added that the two countries must look beyond the traditional notions of security and instead focus on cooperative security.
He said the people of Jammu and Kashmir, who have suffered immensely because of the region's hostilities, will benefit the most from such a cooperative mechanism.
The PDP patron emphasised that the government of India should necessarily at the same time 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 will 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.