Monday, January 14, 2013 – Muzaffarabad—Seventeen Kashmiri political and human rights groups including AJK govt’s Social Welfare minister Ms Farzana Yaqub, in a joint statement Sunday afternoon, have expressed their concern over the current escalation along the Lone of Control in Jammu & Kashmir that impacts negatively on the lives of natives across the divide in the State and injects uncertainties regarding the future direction of Kashmir-specific peace process.
The Kashmiri people, now 16 million, look at the CBMs on Kashmir that were set in motion in the past one decade, as a promise for their move towards peace and progress, and to shape their destiny without fear and coercion. The cease-fire in 2003 and subsequent openings for the natives’ travel and trade even though measured, were incremental steps in the direction, the statement adds..
“‘In this background, the people of Jammu and Kashmir regardless of political orientations saw with contempt and disquiet, steps to erect permanent fencing along the Line of Control and to apply selectivity or slow down intra Kashmir movement of the natives. Instead, the opinion circles across the divide are unanimous in seeking free movement, based on State Subject status, for all natives and their goods.
They all believe that CBM, whether cease-fire or movement of people and their goods, would convey a sense and sustain if parties take steps towards de-militarisation and make this habitat free from fear and coercion”.
In keeping with the above considerations, we the signatories below and raising our voice from amongst the civil society of J&K, call for de-escalation on the LoC and restore confidence in the peace process .The process must be sustained in the interest of all and advanced beyond the set of CBMs in order to give the natives hope for a better tomorrow, it further adds.
The signatories to the joint satement are:
1. Aisha Jehangir Khan, Human Rights/ Humanitarian Worker, Gilgit-Baltistan; 2. Altaf Wani, Director International Institute of Kashmir Affairs (KIIR) Islamabad; 3. Arif Kamal, former Ambassador; 4. Dr. Naseema Seema Jogazi, AJK Women for Peace Organization; 5. Dr. Shaheen Akhtar, Associate Prof. National Defense University, Islamabad; 6. Ershad Mahmud, Analyst; 7. FarzanaYayoob, Minister for Social Welfare & Women Development, AJK; 8. Khawaja Farooq Ahmad, leader of Peoples Party and ex-Minister AJK government; 9. Muhammad Ahmad Shaikh, lawyer and civil society activist 10. Muhammad Farooq Rahman, Chairman J&K Peoples Freedom League; 11. Nayyar Malik, President AJK Women for Peace Organization;
12. Sardar Usman Attique, Youth leader of Muslim Conference AJK; 13. Shah Ghulam Qadir, Secretary General Pakistan Muslim League Azad Jammu and Kashmir; 14. Surriya Kamal, civil society activist; 15. Tariq Masud, Chairman Centre for Peace, Development and Reforms (CPDR) Azad Jammu and Kashmir; 16. Waqas Ali Kausar, civil society activist; 17. Zulfiqar Abbasi, former President Jammu and Kashmir Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JK-JCCI).