Invoking Atal Bihari Vajpayee, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah today appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to declare a “unilateral truce” along the Indo-Pak border during the holy month of Ramzan. The “bold” move will show that India wants to have peace and is ready to sit together to resolve the issue, the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister told reporters.
“I will appeal (to Prime Minister Narendra Modi). Ramzan is approaching. It is just a few days away. It will better if they announce unilateral truce,” Abdullah said here, a day after two persons were killed in heavy shelling by Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC) in Rajouri district.
The NC leader’s statement drew a sharp reaction from the BJP with Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh asking why he was not giving similar advice to Pakistan, which has frequently violated the 2003 Indo-Pak ceasefire along the border and targeted civilian settlements.
Asked about the ceasefire violations by Pakistan, Abdullah said that despite the hostile situation in Jammu and Kashmir and on the borders, former prime minister Vajpayee had announced a unilateral ceasefire against anti-terror operations in the year 2000.
“It has become a serious problem. To resolve this, we have to take decisions. There was a very serious problem… when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was Prime Minister and he took a bold decision, went to Lahore and announced unilateral ceasefire during the month of Ramdan,” he said.
Announcing a unilateral truce against terror oprations, Vajpayee had on November 19, 2000 said in a statement, “I hope that our gesture will be fully appreciated and all violence in the State and infiltration across the Line of Control and the International Border will cease and peace will prevail”.
Later in 2003, the Indo-Pak ceasefire came into force. The government had last month said that Pakistani security forces had violated the ceasefire 268 times in the last one year.
Between April 2016 and March 2017, the maximum of 88 violations were witnessed in November 2016 followed by 78 in October 2016 and 22 in March this year.
“Time has come when both countries should move forward towards it. Four wars have been fought and except death and destruction, we have got nothing,” Abdullah said.
The holy month of ‘Ramadan’ will begin towards May-end.
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The NC leader said that he had impressed on the Prime Minister during their recent meeting that there was immediate need to take a political initiative on Kashmir issue and the situation in the valley should not be looked as a law and order problem.
“We shared our view point on Kashmir situation. I told him that it is very important to take a political initiative. It is not a mere law and order problem. We have to think beyond the law and order angle.
“A Parliament delegation came (to Kashmir). They gave a report on the situation but nothing was done. The iterlocutors’ report has not been implemented. I told him you need to work fast on it and take an urgent initiative,” he said.
Abdullah said the situation in Kashmir “is getting bad” and tension is increasing on the borders.
“A situation should not be allowed which will result in a war. It is not good for us. It will only cause destruction. So there is need to have talks,” he said.
Asked about Hizb commander Zakir Moosa’s statement that militants are fighting for Islam in Kashmir, Abdullah said, “Where in Islam is it written that we have to wage a war and kill innocents. Please show me the book in which it is written.
“It is a state of Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians and Bhuddists. Does Islam say kill innocents? If you kill one innocent person, you will go to hell.
“It (Kashmir) is political issue. It cannot be resolved through a war. It will be resolved through talks. You have keep the door open for commencement of talks,” he said.