‘Poll boycott message to New Delhi to resolve Kashmir issue’
Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq Friday said by suspending the cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade, New Delhi had lost whatever was achieved with Islamabad since the time of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Addressing Friday congregational prayers at Jamia Masjid Srinagar, the Mirwaiz highlighted the low voter turnout in Srinagar parliamentary constituency saying that people had conveyed a clear message to the Government of India (GoI) where their priority lies.
“It is unfortunate that instead of taking steps that could have paved the way for Kashmir resolution, brought people closer across, GoI by suspending the cross-LoC trade is losing whatever was achieved since the time of Vajapyee,” he said.
Hardening its stand against Pakistan, GoI Thursday indefinitely suspended cross-LoC trade at two points along the LoC in Kashmir and Jammu effective Friday.
In an official statement, the Home Ministry said orders had been issued for halting the trade at Salamabad in Baramulla district of Kashmir, and Chakan da Bagh in Poonch district of Jammu region after reports of very large scale "misuse" of cross-LoC trade.
The cross-LoC trade on Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalakote routes was started on October 21, 2008 as a confidence building measure (CBM) between India and Pakistan.
The trade was started by the rightwing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former Prime Minister Vajpayee.
The Hurriyat (M) chairman said cross-LoC initiative that includes trade and bus service was a humanitarian gesture to bring the divided families closer.
“Apart from the political dispute, Kashmir is also a humanitarian issue. This cross-LoC interaction was the only initiative that was started to bring together hundreds of divided families, but GoI unilaterally decided to close this process,” he said.
The Mirwaiz said New Delhi has suspended the cross-LoC trade for electoral gains.
“Just to garner more votes in the election, a humanitarian initiative started during Vajpayee’s time, in which even talks for opening more routes were also in the pipeline, has been shutdown,” he said.
The Mirwaiz said the current dispensation wants to give an impression that by adopting repressive approaches, they could suppress the aspiration of the people of Jammu Kashmir.
“The harsh measures will not do away the reality of the problem and the urgent need for its resolution. At the end of the day, GoI has to talk to Pakistan and Kashmiris and settle the issue once for all,” he said.
Talking about the low voter turnout in Srinagar parliamentary constituency, the Hurriyat (M) Chairman said people staying away from the electoral process had peacefully conveyed a clear message to GoI that people here want a serious political initiative toward the resolution of lingering Kashmir issue.
He said people would give their ample support if GoI would initiate a process on Kashmir resolution.
“If there is a policy on Kashmir resolution, you will see how people from all walks of life will come in its support. People and the leadership will support all initiatives aimed at addressing Kashmir issue,” the Mirwaiz said.
“People of Kashmir are facing tremendous hardships since past 70 years hoping that some serious efforts would be made to resolve the issues so that peace prevails in the region,” he said.