In a joint petition from Jammu and Rawalakot, over 130 eminent citizens of the divided State of Jammu and Kashmir have urged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to resume ceasefire along the Line of Control and begin the process of dialogue to resolve the Kashmir issue by including all the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Two eminent civil society activists across the LoC led this initiative, Anuradha Bhasin, Executive Editor, daily Kashmir Times, Jammu and Ershad Mahmud, Executive Director, Center for Peace, Development and Reforms.
The petition has already gained momentum and people are coming together in a significant number to take ownership. It so far has got signatures from various senior political leaders, poets, authors, journalists, civil society activists, former civil servants, ex-diplomats and army personnel, as well as people from the academia.
The petition pronounces that if current tension at the borders is allowed to prolong, it will jeopardize the stability of the region and might escalate into an all-out war. Besides, the skirmishes at the LoC augment the sufferings of the people residing not just near the border areas, but eventually of the entire population of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir State.
It also raises concern and anxiety regarding 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. The petition claimed that the ongoing spate of violence would sanction the war mongers on both sides. It also urges the political leadership in New Delhi and Islamabad to impress upon their respective militaries for bringing an immediate end to this continuum of shelling and firing.
The organizers say that the petition will be soon online for further signatures and support. Current signatories include Chaudhary Latif Akbar, President Pakistan People’s Party AJK; Justice (Retd.) Hasnain Masoodi, Srinagar; ex-vice-chancellor Siddiq Wahid; Neerja Mattoo, writer and educationist; Farooq Nazki, poet; authors Mir Khalid and Badri Raina; Shujaat Bukhari, Editor Rising Kashmir, Srinagar, Dr Nitasha Kaul, writer and academic, Mr. Ghulam Murtza, President Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mirpur; ; Justice Syed Sharif Hussain Bokhari, Lahore; Air Vice Marshal (Retd.) Kapil Kak; Dr. Toqeer Gillani, Chairman Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front; Mr. Abdul Khaliq Wasi, Member Kashmir Council, Pakistan Muslim League (N); Shakeel Qalandhar and Mubeen Shah of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Ambassador Arif Kamal and Shaheen Kausar Dar, ex-Deputy Speaker, AJK Assembly.