Civil society From Both Parts of Kashmir Urge India-Pakistan to Restart Talks

Srinagar: Civil society groups from the two Kashmirs have joined hands to urge India and Pakistan to respect the ceasefire on their borders and restart talks in an initiative that seems to have gathered momentum amid increasing attacks and retaliatory strikes along the Line of Control (LoC).

The cross-border appeal came in a letter the Kashmiri activists wrote to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Shahid Khaqan Abbasi last week.

The letter urged the two leaders “to resume ceasefire on borders and begin the process of dialogue to resolve the Kashmir issue by involving all the people of Jammu and Kashmir”.

The situation along the Line of Control(LoC) worsened this year, with January alone recording 134 violations that left over a dozen people dead. Four soldiers died in Pakistani shelling on February 4, prompting the Indian army to vow revenge.

As the tension escalated, two famous activists led the civil society initiative – Anuradha Bhasin, executive editor of the daily Kashmir Times, and Ershad Mahmud, executive director of the non-government group Center for Peace, Development, and Reforms, who is based in Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Among those who signed the petition were president, Pakistan People’s Party; Ghulam Murtza, Chaudhary Latif Akbar, president, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mirpur; Justice Syed Sharif Hussain Bokhari from Pak, former high court judge Hasnain Masoodi, Srinagar; ex-vice-chancellor the Islamic University of Science and Technology, south Kashmir, Siddiq Wahid, and Neerja Mattoo, a writer and educationist.

The petition said if the tension was allowed to continue, “it will endanger the stability of the region and might escalate into an all-out war”, with “radical elements and war mongers” exploiting the situation to “promote hatred between the two countries”.

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