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J&K: PDP seeks Cabinet meet on demilitarisation
Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
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February 18, 2007 20:04 IST

Ruling coalition partner People's Democratic Party on Sunday sought a special Cabinet meeting to discuss demilitarisation and withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which gives the security forces vast powers to deal with militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.

In a letter to Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, the PDP legislature party chief and state Agriculture Minister Abdul Aziz Zargar urged Azad to convene the Cabinet meeting at the earliest to discuss "measured, responsive and responsible reduction of the armed forces and withdrawal of AFSPA."

The letter said, "There should be measured, responsive and responsible reduction of the armed forces engaged in the task of maintaining internal security in the state. They should be replaced, in appropriately selected areas, by the local police personnel, whose engagement in fighting militancy would be more effective and result-yielding."

"The Armed Forces Special Powers Act should be withdrawn as, it is obvious, this statute will not be applicable to the operations of the local police," Zargar said in the letter.

He said that his party believes that "during the course of the last four years, the situation on the ground in Jammu and Kashmir has materially and considerably improved as a result of the various policy initiatives of the state government backed fully and whole-heartedly by the Union government."

"We believe that the process of dialogue and engagement will become more credible, productive and inclusive if the government adopts the aforementioned suggestions made by the PDP," Zargar urged.

"While we should give no quarter to the enemies of peace and the followers of violence, we should also not provide any excuse to them to malign the governments of the state and the Union," the letter said.

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