Sign A Petition:
By Mazhar Iqbal
Honourable Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan: End tension at Line of Control
A petition has recently been launched by the people of Jammu & Kashmir to defuse tension on India-Pakistan borders. The petition has been initiated at distinguished website www.change.org- an online petitioning platform, and it says that the people of Jammu and Kashmir on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) are concerned about their safety and security, particularly of the people living with the close vicinity of the LoC, who are directly hit by sporadic incidents of shelling and firing.
The petition was launched by Mohsin Shakil, a Muzaffarabad based university dean and is still far behind its initial target of 500 signatures. However, it may serve as a reminder for India and Pakistan to keep themselves away from another muscle-flexing drill over Kashmir, particularly, after escalation of tensions at the Line of Control (LoC) that has been building up gradually and has suddenly taken an ugly turn in recent weeks.
The change.org now boastfully claims 40 million global users and as many as 1,000 petitions a day. It means any meaningful protest call backed by a substantial number of people could prove itself be a wakeup call
The petition says that the people of Jammu and Kashmir on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) & supporters of peace in the region are concerned about the safety and security of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, particularly the people living with the close vicinity of the LoC, who are directly hit by sporadic incidents of shelling and firing.
These repeated violations of the ceasefire that has been in place as part of an agreement between India and Pakistan since 2003 have been adversely affecting the lives of the people in the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir. Besides, there is a potential danger of reversing the gains of this biggest confidence building measure that has enabled and facilitated interactions, howsoever symbolic, between the two sides of the divided State, provided security and an atmosphere of healing for much needed development for the people living in the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir. Besides, these tensions threaten the very framework of peace for which a 10 year long ceasefire at the LoC has been a great bulwark, even though the pace of peace process has been so far tardy and does not fully engages with the people of this State.
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The petitioners fear that if these tensions at the LoC are allowed to prolong, they will compromise the goodwill that has been built and reverse the peace dividends. We also fear that they will cause massive sufferings to the people of not just the border areas, but eventually of the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir, on both sides. Besides, they will provide a greater space to extremist, hawkish and fanatic elements as well as empower the war mongers on both sides. They also have the potential of ushering the whole region into a new war destroying hopes of long term peace and economic stability.
A Kashmiri journalist has said that ceasefire is a must and sole Kashmir issue. Another petitioner Chandrika JP from Indian side of the divide says ‘’I and my ancestors have suffered a lot due to this issue’’
@Kashmir is an issue of stateless people
One concerned person has raised the most poignant side of the issue i want the respectable solution of my state Jammu and Kashmir because i am a stateless person since last 37 years (Khawaja Ghulam Nabi).
Kashmir: Fight Between Two Elephants
Zafar Meraj from Srinagar (Indian side) says ‘’It is Kashmir that suffers when the two elephants start fighting’’
Push Forward India, Pakistan Peace Process
Renowned Kashmiri Ved Bhasin suggest that this petition needs to be heard by concerned people For pushing forward the India Pakistan peace process , a peaceful solution of the Kashmir problem and for the welfare of the people of J&K across the LoC who have been bearing the brunt of such clashes
Shazia Bakshi from Indian side says I as a citizen of India support this petition. Having been recently to Pakistan and having experienced their warm hospitality and genuine love and friendship first hand strongly urge all my friends to sign this petition.
One heart touching reason by a signatory: Being a resident of divided land I feel that every bullet fired is killing me spiritually.
The signatories of the petition also deplore the war rhetoric and attempts by political or religious groups for symbolism of Kashmir to justify war mongering and hatred.
The petitioners call for an immediate end to the hostilities on the Line of Control.
The petitioners have called upon the political leadership in New Delhi and Islamabad to impress upon their respective militaries to immediately desist from this continuum of shelling and firing incidents. They have also called upon them to initiate action to begin immediate dialogue for a more long term end to these on-going tensions, to restore the sanctity of the ceasefire that has been in place since 2003 by replacing strategic insecurities of the two militaries with mutual trust and co-operation.
(The writer is peace & human rights activist and member of Press for Peace, a Kashmiri rights advocacy organisation based in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan Administered Kashmir).